New Trier High School faces backlash for upcoming civil rights seminar
A New Trier High School parent in Illinois is speaking out about an upcoming program planned for students and faculty regarding racial civil rights.
The full-day event is scheduled on Feb. 28.
Betsy Hart, parent of two New Trier students, spoke with Dan Proft of "Chicago's Morning Answer" about the matter.
“It’s a regular mandatory attendance day and the kids will be choosing programs,” she told Proft.
The programs being offered -- as noted on the New Trier School brochure -- all center on racial rights in modern America, called "Understanding Today’s Struggles for Racial Civil Rights." Offered courses include "From Kareem to Kaepernick: Athlete Activists in the Modern Era"; "Now Let’s Get in Formation"; and "Realizing King's Radical Realization of Values."
Hart is irritated at the school for not including parents in this seminar and for having a focus on activism and Black Lives Matter.
“If you’re going to have a day that is structured like this, let's start including parents,” she said. “It's not extracurricular. Parents were actively excluded from having any say to the programs.”
Hart explained that if racial rights and activism are “the focus of the day, you’re actually creating more harm than good.”
Hart spoke with the school’s principal regarding her disagreement with the seminar.
“He said it was just students and faculty,” she said.
During the interview, Proft asked Hart if she acquired a degree in education to know what these kids should be taught.
“Silly me for thinking that just because my husband and I have kids that I would have any concept of these issues," she responded. "I can’t possibly have a viewpoint that actually might be useful.”
Hart continued by discussing local racial issues.
“We have a situation where homicide rates are climbing, they are record levels, and almost every victim is an African American and we’re here in the mecca talking about white privilege and racism and the college progress," she said. "Again, that’s not courageous. It’s a cliché. It’s a total disconnect from what would actually help these communities.”
She told Proft this seminar strays away “from focusing on real issues.” Her suggestion is to speak about marriage and encourage partnerships in a positive way.
Hart is not against having seminars for students; however, she is against these types of teachings.
“I’m not saying we have to put on a program according to Betsy Hart, but I am saying get parents involved and actually have a diverse program,” she said.
For the event, there will be one speaker at each campus. The two speakers are Colson Whitehead, successful author, and Andrew Aydin, who is employed in the political field with Rep. Lewis in D.C.
“Every single speaker on there is coming from the perspective that we are absolutely defined by color,” Hart said. “I’m going to say that actions speak louder than words.”
Hart has contacted the school’s board of education and asks others to do the same, if interested.
“Learn how to contact our board of education,” she said. “I think they should hear about parents’ concerns. Whatever that concern is, voice that to the board.”