Commentary

In Vermont schools, it’s Progress vs. the Indians

“Indians attacking a wagon train,” by Emanuel Leutze – Wikepedia photo

By Guy Page

The wagons are circled. As white men and women alike fire rifles at the whooping, circling Indians, children huddle together inside the circle. The hard-pressed defenders hope the cavalry will arrive.

That iconic scene from western history, art and film is playing out right now in Vermont. 

The wagons are Vermont’s public schools. Driven deep into new territory with determined educators and school board members at their reins, schools have become the battlefield for fierce opposition by the locals. Like the Plains Indians of old, some Vermonters are upset the old traditions have been discarded by the newcomers’ strange ideas like Critical Race Theory, gender identification and mandatory masking. 

The natives are restless, especially the tribes living in rural Northern Vermont. Great White Father in Washington, D.C. is preoccupied and unresponsive. Lately they’ve become suspicious about whose side he’s really on. They’ve tried to reason with the settlers – “these are our lands and our ways, stop what you’re doing.” 

One chief on the warpath is Ben Morley of Orleans, Vermont organizer for Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism. He has been accused of “McCarthyism” by a school superintendent and threatened with losing his State of Vermont job because he asked questions during a required ‘equity and diversity’ training. 

But on Monday, the first day of school, he was just a dad who had to call the school twice to learn why his middle school child (and other students in the classroom) had been asked to publicly declare his “identity pronouns.” Morley thinks it’s harmful to ask a young teenager to declare his or her gender identity in front of his or her peers. He asked to see the teacher’s lesson plan. School principal April Lang responded with this written version of a ruler rap on the knuckles, or to extend the history metaphor, a warning shot from her Winchester [excerpt below]:

“We are denying your request for Mr. Carbonetti’s lesson plan. It is clear that your intention is to not engage in discourse but to use the information to publicly attack a teacher who is simply doing their job. This is evident by the fact that Mr. Carbonetti’s name, your interpretation of his lesson, as well as information on how to contact him were posted on Facebook. You did this before receiving correspondence from the teacher. Typically, when parents have questions, they reach out and engage with the teacher. Parents also have the option of including the principal if they have additional questions or concerns. Additionally, from time to time, the superintendent may be involved. Your approach in this situation creates the conditions for a hostile and potentially unsafe environment for not only Mr. Carbonetti but also other teachers who are trying to establish trusting relationships with their students. 

“You have expressed interest in our mentoring program. However, at this time we believe that some repair to the harm that you have caused would be necessary before we consider having you participate in the mentoring program. As mentioned above, staff do not feel safe based on your actions.”

“Potentially unsafe!” Circle the wagons!

As Vermont parents are learning, saying you ‘feel unsafe’ is the racial/gender identity activist’s go-to defensive technique when someone objects strenuously to their latest initiative. 

In nearby Hardwick, parents and students alike became upset after the new school principal seemed to group burning the American flag along with other forms of protest. The comments of Caleb Heath of Hardwick seem to echo the concerns of Indians who worried that the newcomers weren’t about co-existence: “This hate and indoctrination that is being pushed on our children is clearly all around us. Parents and students are outraged and rightfully so. If we sit back and allow moments like this to go unchecked, I fear attacks like this will only continue until this becomes the new normal that our children grow to accept.”

To the territory in the west, parents have appeared en masse at school board meetings in the Swanton and Enosburg school districts to protest their children being forced to wear masks. 

Riding to the rescue of educators who for good or ill are deliberately choosing new CRT and pro-mask policies are the cavalry, in the form of Gov. Phil Scott and the President Pro Tem of the Vermont Senate, Sen. Becca Balint (D-Windham County.) Sen. Balint very publicly took Republican “colleague” Sen. Russ Ingalls (R-Orleans) to the woodshed for sharing Morley’s post after teacher Sam Carbonetti tweeted he had been “doxxed” (outed) by anti-CRT forces. 

Balint says she thoroughly studied the issue. She condemns Ingalls for sharing “a private citizen’s email.” Yet Morley’s post, shared by Ingalls, only cites the public, school email – which is also available on the school’s website. 

Besides publicly chastising a ‘colleague’ for standing up for his constituents, Balint threatened to expand the Senate ethics rules to include his behavior. (Balint’s other job has been as a schoolteacher.)

Captain Becca of the Cavalry to the rescue!

Gov. Phil Scott also made it clear he’s had it with parents getting upset at school boards. In an uncommon move, he had his comments from yesterday’s press conference published and emailed to the media, including this excerpt:

“The school boards and superintendents who are implementing masking policies are simply doing what the State – at my direction – is recommending. The attacks towards them are absolutely unacceptable, and if they want to blame someone, they can blame me.

 “Now, it is good news – and a reason for optimism – that the data does not justify a State of Emergency. But the fact remains that without one, the State cannot unilaterally mandate these policies, which is exactly why we provided the advisory recommendations for schools to implement these mandates. Because this is what we believe schools should be doing at this point.

“So, again, I want to be very clear to those who are upset at their school district: They are simply following the State’s advice.”

Colonel Scott of the Cavalry seems to be saying: “Hey, disgruntled parents – the boards don’t have to mandate masks – but I think they should! So lighten up!”

Will the parents adapt to the newcomers’ ways? Or will they press home their war of words and petitions and, ultimately, votes in an effort to keep their traditions? And here’s the real question:

Those children huddling in the center of the circled wagons – whose are they? 

Categories: Commentary

35 replies »

  1. I think April Lang forgets public funds are paying for Mr. Carbonetti’s lesson plan and its contents are not a state secret. It’s also none of her business what Ben Morely intends to do with the lesson plan data. This “unsafe” business was first learned in college by these snowflakes.

    Sen. Balint’s doxing complaint is destroyed by the fact that, as Guy points out, the Carbonetti email published by Sen. Ingalls is a public email of a public employee, no different than any legislator’s email address.

    I’m greatly encouraged by the weakness of the bureaucratic response to these complaints about education: where is their defense of the educational content involved?

    • There is no defense required by a monopoly organization, no matter from where the funds come. Unless and until School Choice Tuition Vouchers for alternate public schools, independent schools (including religious schools), and homeschooling, are made available to ALL parents, the public-school monopoly will continue to disregard all of us and act with impunity.

      And keep in mind that elitist private schools thrive for the most part because of the public-school monopoly’s impudence. Parents with means and resources are willing to pay whatever they can to extricate their children from what they perceive as a commoner’s perfunctory education – and private schools take advantage by ‘cherry-picking’ the best and wealthiest students.

      What concerns me is that the remedy for all of these complaints is so simple and clear, yet only a few ever focus on it. It’s not about how well done this article is (which is debatable). It’s not about stopping your tax payments (good luck with that). It’s not about destroying a doxing complaint (an easy mark). It’s not about ‘the weakness of the bureaucratic response’ to complaints (what else is new). It’s not about whether or not ‘the teachers, and schoolboard members are smart enough to know which side of the fan to stand behind’ (so far, they’re smarter than we are). It’s not the metaphor of circling the wagons. We all get it.

      The question is, what are we going to do about it?

      • The answer:

        First, understand that breaking up the public-school monopoly is our only immediate solution.

        Second, use existing laws and procedures to make your case on an individual basis. Again, refer to 16 V.S.A. § 822, at least for high school students (grades 7 thru 12) parents can request a School Choice Tuition Voucher from their local school boards. 16 V.S.A. § 822 (c)(1) (2) “The judgment of the board shall be final in regard to the institution the students may attend at public cost.”
        https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/16/021/00822

        Third, it’s easier to elect sympathetic school board members than to expect State legislators to accommodate anything but education special interest groups.

        Fourth, use the court system. Use class actions to sue your local school board and the Agency of Education, if they don’t recognize that your child “…has unique educational needs that cannot be served within the district or at a nearby public school”. Some Vermont parents are already doing this.

        ”Vermont is facing at least its second lawsuit in four months over a voucher program that allows students in communities that don’t have schools or are not part of supervisory unions to attend schools of their choice, including approved private institutions.”
        https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/school-choice-lawsuit-surge-pushes-high-court-fight-75319273

        As the saying goes: ‘If you’re going to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk’!

  2. I wonder if the teachers, and schoolboard members are smart enough to know which side of the fan to stand behind ????????

  3. Are there a sufficient number of Vermonters willing to stop paying the extortion known as school taxes? It’s time, folks.

  4. I’m a little confused, I thought you were arguing against CRT because you say it contributes to thinking of racial and ethnic groups as stereotypes and that you are the true “non racists”? In an attempt to poke progressives in the eye as hard as possible in this article, you’ve tattled on yourself again Guy. This article is master class in racist stereotyping. Period.

    • Since you asked – “Period” as in end of discussion? How so? What’s racist about it? I’m using a metaphor from American history to describe what’s happening now.

  5. I’ll happily retract the “period” from my previous comment. More discussion and exchange of ideas is wonderful. I won’t try to fully unpack it all here but your metaphor, which has purposefully inverted the historic power dynamics between Indigenous and European Americans for narrative effect, does still lean into stereotypes of both groups of people. In your metaphor, European people are fearful, insulated, defenders and uninterested in respectful exchange with Indigenous people. Also, Indigenous people are put forward as one narrow version of truer, three dimensional human selves – fearful, aggressive, whooping, circling, physically attacking children and families, uninterested in respectful exchange with European peoples. These are age old racial and ethnic stereotypes that serve to divide us, rather than unite us and they are not an accurate depiction of our current or historic selves. Thank you.

    • Great article! I enjoyed your metaphor for explaining the complexity of the incident. Bravo! If Net, can’t read between the lines or find obvious parallels given the incident shared, maybe they need a history lesson.This is a work of art! Great work!

      • It isn’t that he or she cannot read between the lines. It’s that he or she thinks hijacking the discussion with faux offense will help change the focus from the outrageous curriculum taxpayers are being forced to finance. It will not.

    • All of your poetic language backed up by an arrogantly thought out word salad basically proved that you were triggered by Guy’s article and just couldn’t resist bringing out the race card. I hope you can recover from such a traumatized experience! I would suggest reading VermontGraveDigger, but you will have to keep your comments to yourself since free expression is not allowed there.

      • Read this chain a bit more closely. Guy pulled out the race card and language, not me. I only pointed out the vast hypocrisy of him writing months worth of articles pointing to the harm of racial and ethnic stereotypes, only to write this article full of racial and ethnic stereotypes. Whether I’m pretending outrage or or crying fake tears or actually just care, doesn’t do anything to diminish how well you are arguing against your own stated arguments, points and principals.

    • I have to agree with Net. The metaphor of ‘white men and women alike fir(ing) rifles at the whooping, circling Indians,’ is precisely the stereotypic reference of CRT. And, yes, I can read between the lines. That’s the point – I am reading between the lines.

      Wouldn’t it have been more effective to reference a more benign general military metaphor?

      ‘Encirclement’ is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces. The situation is highly dangerous for the encircled force. At the strategic level, it cannot receive supplies or reinforcements, and on the tactical level, the units in the force can be subject to an attack from several sides. Lastly, since the force cannot retreat, unless it is relieved or can break out, it must fight to the death or surrender.’

      I agree with the general premise of Mr. Page’s analogy. But the public-school monopoly is anything but the group cut-off from supplies and reinforcements. It’s Vermont’s parents and taxpayers who are threatened – unless they can break out – etc., etc.. And this has nothing what-so-ever to do with race, yet another unfortunate distraction from the real matter at hand – allowing everyone, Cowboys and Indians, to have School Choice Tuition Vouchers.

      • You are always deflecting away from the issue at hand by criticizing the writer. Net’s so called “indigenous people” were also settlers from other areas of the earth and were violent, warring tribes against other tribes, so what’s your point? Do we all have to conform to Jay’s approval each and every time we write something? The “circle the wagons” and cowboys and Indians has been a metaphor as long as I can remember. If people are triggered so easily and we have to have the metaphor police to correct our thoughts, we have come to a very dangerous place in time. I think we all get it that you are for vouchers, okay so are most of us. I really don’t care what you agree with, your comment wasn’t even needed. I’ll just wait for your comment to show me up, just knowing how much you dislike being criticized but just enjoy criticizing everyone else!

      • I didn’t make the analogy, Dano. And, if anything, you’re deflecting away from the issue at hand by trying to make this about me. If Mr. Page’s point is to support Ben Morley’s Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, why in the world would Mr. Page correlate the promotion with a reference to ‘white men and women alike fir(ing) rifles at the whooping, circling Indians?’ Especially in today’s political environment. It makes no sense. As I said, “…this has nothing what-so-ever to do with race”. So why the racial references?

        But it does have everything to do with School Choice Tuition Vouchers. That’s my point! You’re free to make your choices. I’m free to make mine. Guy Page is free to make his. Net is free to make his. What’s not to like? All the rest, including your personal opinion of me, is deflection.

      • When you label something politically incorrect you can control the narrative! You should study critical theory prior to generalizing it’s usage and intent. This article is art, whereas critical theory is an attempt to imbed guilt and shame. I think what you don’t like about this article is that it labels your constituents oppressors. It is honest and demonstrates true power dichotomy in our local school system. How does it feel being exposed as the true oppressors?

      • Re: “This article is art,…”

        Yea, right, Mr. Indian. Just like Hunter Biden’s handy work is ‘art’ too. You can buy it if you like. But don’t expect me to drink the Kool-Aid. What I didn’t like about this article is that it was poorly worded and counter-productive to the argument that CRT is a scam. What this article does, as does your support of it, is confirm the claims that CRT is legitimate – whether or not you agree. Others do and you play right into their narrative. So, be as artful as you want to be. But just because you have every right to be foolish about it doesn’t mean you should shoot yourself in the foot to make the point. After all, I’m on your side. But I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot just to prove it. If you find that ‘oppressive’, so be it.

      • Re: “This article is art,…”

        Yea, right. Just like Hunter Biden’s handy work is ‘art’ too. You can buy it if you like. But don’t expect me to drink the Kool-Aid. What I didn’t like about this article is that it was poorly worded and counter-productive to the argument that CRT is a scam. What this article does, as does your support of it, is confirm the claims that CRT is legitimate – whether or not you agree. Others do, and you play right into their narrative. So, be as artful as you want to be. But just because you have every right to be foolish about it doesn’t mean you should shoot yourself in the foot to make the point. After all, I’m on your side. But I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot just to prove it. If you find that ‘oppressive’, so be it.

    • Jay, that’s my opinion and I’m allowed to have one. You really don’t make a lot of sense, you provide no examples with vague statements that support an orthodoxy. Stop getting offended and offer reasoning and tell me how/why?

      • First: I never said you weren’t entitled to an opinion.

        Second: My ‘orthodoxy’ is the same as yours and Guy Page’s. You guys just have a different, and in my opinion, poor way of expressing it.

        Third: I’m not offended, as you, apparently, are, because you’re the one who finds what I say to be ‘oppressive’ – your words.

        Here’s the ‘how’ and ‘why’… again. Drawing an analogy to the conflict between our school system and parents by saying “As white men and women alike fire rifles at the whooping, circling Indians, children huddle together inside the circle”, is a racist reference – even if your intentions were otherwise. I mean, really, … white men and women? Whooping, circling Indians? It’s time for a little introspection.

        And I will always push back if you make stuff up. My ‘reasoning’ has been clear and substantiated from the get-go.

      • Again, how is the analogy racist? It sounds like you can’t express how it is overtly racist. It is an analogy, and presented very well by the author. Your claim is it’s “racist”, not that it’s inappropriate or offensive poor in taste, but “racist”. So explain how comparing history to our current context is racist? Progressives do it every day, but I don’t think it’s “racist”.

      • Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you. Why is it, again, you find the analogy to white people shooting at whooping Indians to be ‘inappropriate’, ‘offensive’, and ‘poor in taste’ (your words)? But not ‘racist’?

      • Ahhh, can’t answer my question. You shouldn’t throw the word “racist” around so carelessly. You are a prime example of why racism lives and breeds. I’ll wait for you to answer my question. I have a feeling I won’t get a good reason from you, but I will ask again- How or Why is it racist?

      • Geesh. Okay. How about I go with Meriam-Webster.

        Racist: having, reflecting, or fostering the belief that race (e.g. white men and women vs. whooping Indians) is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

        Now, can you answer my questions?

  6. Right on cue people – be AWARE that the fake VIRUS threats (using our young ones) are part of the SCRIPT to go after the under 12 kiddos (as well as the rest smart enough NOT to get the jab) – think logically – NONE had a problem until school started THIS YEAR – this is pure evil – the PLANDEMIC WAS PART OF A SCRIPT in preparation for the JAB which is NOT a vaccine – which if you search for the CENSORED science you will find the death JAB ingredients that are STILL being uncovered (recently Dr. Young found a death threatening parasite ALSO) –

    THE SHOOTINGS are escalating for the GUN GRAB even here in little (numbers wise) old supposedly safe and protected (NOT) Vermont! You brilliant commenters have written here time after time after time – so what are you going to do about it? Writing to anyone on the hill is a waste of time – calling anyone on the hill is a waste of time! Opposition needs to show itself and find others and join each other in like minded knowledgeable thoughts – this is GOOD AGAINST EVIL and God knows you are on the cliff – really looking like you are going to jump rather than TAKE BACK VT.

    LISTEN TO ALL OF THE VIDEO LINKED BELOW AND HEAR THE SCRIPT HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES USING THE VIRUS CASES IN UNDER 12 IN OTHER SCHOOLS!!

    SAVE YOURSELVES OR AT THE LEAST SAVE THE CHILDREN – EVIL IS HOLDING YOU HOSSTAGE!

    https://x22report.com/aiovg_videos/ep-2566b-people-must-digest-accept-factual-events-people-must-unite-to-clean-out-the-ds/

  7. To those of you accusing my father of acting in a racist manner, perhaps you don’t see beneath the surface. His objective is simply to point out the flaws of CRT, the mask mandate, etc. These are real issues that are not being resolved, and the direction this country is currently going in certainly is not helping matters. Everyone is free to their own opinions, but disagreeing civilly, or even asking, “what was the intent behind your work?” are two approaches that don’t require any attacks.

    • You’re missing the point that you’re only being asked to adhere to your own stated beliefs, not someone else’s. This article was preceded by months worth of articles bad mouthing VT teachers, school administrators etc. for supposedly contributing to racial stereotypes with the ghost of “CRT” as you define it. Why are you so worked up about “CRT”, if you’re going to write and defend this article? It’s not a surprise that you would lean on these stereotypes, it’s a surprise that you would do it after attacking other people for doing it. I’ll give $100 to anyone who can point to a single thing in a single VT school that contributes to stereotypical thinking about racial and ethnic groups anywhere near as much as this article does. It’s been explained in previous comments exactly how this article contributes to stereotypes, but no one has directly addressed it, only defended the indefensible and thrown around insults. We can choose to do better

      • Mandatory Implicit Biased training requires educators to regulate thought and use stereotypes and assumptions to determine others feelings and thoughts. This type of training makes all groups think of each other differently and assume harm and intent. Judgements based on identity go hand in hand with CRT indoctrination. When can I expect my money? Wait, I don’t want it. These trainings are mandatory in every VT school now.

    • I understand and agree with your father’s objective, Joseph. But some of us think his choice of words and the racial analogy is a distraction from it. The objective is to free all Vermonters from the tyranny of the public-school monopoly, whatever its dogma happens to be.

      I don’t care that some people want to see more CRT or that many others don’t. The best way to demonstrate a superior way of thinking and reasoning is to allow a free marketplace of ideas and let parents choose with their tuition vouchers – if only they all had them. As I said before – “…this has nothing what-so-ever to do with race, yet another unfortunate distraction from the real matter at hand – allowing everyone, Cowboys, and Indians, to have School Choice Tuition Vouchers”.

      • That’s not what you originally said. You labeled it racist. Still waiting for an explanation for how it is racist. You were triggered and offended, why?

      • That’s precisely what I said. Now your being dishonest about it. Go find someone else to troll.

  8. What does this sentence even mean?:“Mandatory Implicit Biased training requires educators to regulate thought and use stereotypes and assumptions to determine others feelings and thoughts”. Where/how is the requirement mandated? By what means do educators “regulate your thought”? And which stereotypes and assumptions are used to determine your thoughts and how? Please be specific. You’re chasing ghosts and it’s a waste of time and energy. It was said plainly earlier but you won’t address it:
    “In your metaphor, European people are fearful, insulated, defenders and uninterested in respectful exchange with Indigenous people. Also, Indigenous people are put forward as one narrow version of truer, three dimensional human selves – fearful, aggressive, whooping, circling, physically attacking children and families, uninterested in respectful exchange with European peoples. These are age old racial and ethnic stereotypes that serve to divide us, rather than unite us and they are not an accurate depiction of our current or historic selves.” Please respond to this idea, simply laid out in two sentences. I’m from 6 generations of New England, Vermont yankee conservatives. Just like we’re not afraid of hard work, we’re not afraid to think about hard things or accurately study history from more than one perspective.

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