Essex High requires racially-segregated reading groups

White teachers must read one book, BIPOC teachers must read another

by Michael Bielawski

An Essex High whistleblower shared information that the school is pushing racially charged material on its staff as well as forcing segregated social justice-theme meetings based on race.

Forcing white staff to read “Learning and Teaching While White”

An email sent from the school to its staff states the following.

“The course aims to hold space for courageous introspection, learning, and youth,” the email says. The email written by the school principal Erin Cavoneil was shared with VDC by a whistleblower who chose to remain anonymous.

It continues, “Though engaging discussions, critical reflections, and collaborative activities, we will explore the complexities of racial identity, privilege, and the role of educators in fostering equity within our school community. ‘Learning and Teaching While White’ offers invaluable insights and perspectives that can help us better understand and address systematic inequities in our teaching practices.”

An excerpt from the book is available via

“Racial equity will not come until white educators recognize their role in supporting racist policies and practices, and take responsibility for dismantling them. Learning and Teaching While White is an accessible guide to help white educators, leaders, students, and parents develop an explicit, skills-based antiracist practice,” it reads.

The text continues, “Through their own experiences working with school communities, and the strategies and tools they have developed, Jenna Chandler-Ward and Elizabeth Denevi share how white educators can gain greater consciousness of their own white racial identity; analyze the role of whiteness in their school systems; rethink pedagogical approaches and curricular topics; address the role of white parents in the pursuit of racial literacy and equity; and much more.”

Forced segregation?

Another portion of the email implies that staff are required to attend group meetings based on race.

“Furthermore, we are pleased to announce that our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) faculty and staff members will be engaging in a parallel reading experience focused on racial healing and resilience. The selected book for this group is, ‘My Grandmother’s Hands’ by Resmaa Menakem.”

It further states, “The course and parallel reading initiative aim to strengthen our collective understanding of racial equity and empower us to promote positive change within Essex High School.”

In another email also by Cavoneil, it is noted that these initiatives are “something the whole school will be participating in” and it’s not something that staff can choose not to sign up for.

On Monday morning the local school board and superintendent’s office as well as the Department of Education were all reached out to for comment and have not yet responded.

Essex High promoting Critical Race Theory?

The Essex High School has already been in the news for its social justice policies including its promotion of Critical Race Theory, a controversial concept that society is inherently racist and that therefore people must be treated differently based on race.

In a June 2021 report, WCAX wrote of the school’s then-in-development equity policy that “Some of the policies are informed by ‘critical race theory,’ which teaches that systemic racism and inequality are embedded in all aspects of American life.”

The article noted that there was pushback from some of the community.

“But critics argue the theory is divisive and teaches kids their country is inherently evil and that teaching it in schools amounts to activism in the classroom, which is what some community members have argued over the past several weeks,” the report states.

The policy was eventually adopted and it can be read here.

An excerpt reads, “This nation would not have evolved as it has without the genocide of the indigenous people, nor would the economic infrastructure exist as it does without the enslavement of native African people and their descendants. In an effort to recognize and undo the harm of centuries of systemic inequities and oppression, we begin with this lens and framework.”

The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle

About Vermont Daily Chronicle: every weekday, we publish 10 Vermont-related news and commentary articles. Subscriptions to Vermont Daily Chronicle are free. Subscribing takes less than one minute: click here to subscribe and receive the daily edition in your email. The Vermont Daily Chronicle is supported almost exclusively by Contributing Readers who appreciate our unique place in the Vermont news media and generously give $108/year (some give more, some less) via PayPal or by writing a check to Vermont Daily Chronicle, P.O. Box 1547, Montpelier Vermont, 05641.

Categories: Education

36 replies »

  1. If I were a teacher in this school I would go somewhere else to teach. Apparently with these new policies this school is saying the teachers are all white supremacists and know nothing about teaching!

    • The most anti-American presidential administration to ever kick open the doors for a Marxist Revolution. We are in deep trouble with this slow train going off the tracks and take away all of our hard-fought-for freedoms, Antifah, Bernie Sanders and the far left, OAC. God help us from these woke maniacs who are too cool for school!

  2. Pure racist theory and pedagogy on parade as “professional development” for educators and staff. Utterly despicable.

    • This policy is racist to the very core. It is the antithesis of what Martin Luther King Jr. Preached, fought and was killed for. 
      The resounding and lasting ‘I have a Dream’ speech, his most remembered work describes the polar opposite of what the proponents of this toxic drivel seek.
      I would not allow my children nor grandchildren in the door of this school system, the administrators are racist, ill- informed and obviously corrupted by their ‘reverse racism’. 

    •      I agree!! Totally ridiculous and hilarious. I moved here 5 years ago from MD and on the rare occasion that I’d see a person of color, it helped ease my homesickness.  I honestly laughed out loud  when I saw all the Black Lives Matter signs.  Where were they I wondered.  
           It’s just people looking for a cause,  a feel good  thing.  Trouble is, this type of thinking is 90% hogwash and there are no positive outcomes for anyone. 
           Find a way to leave  the public schools.  There are alot of other ways to educate our children.  

    • We are not Lily white and I take offense to that!  Stop pushing that lie on the population.  

  3. Skin pigmentation is not a reflection of character. Anyone, regardless of their shade of skin can fall short of the glory of God.

    • Cathy,

      The really sad part is that we are all related no matter what color we are. We all came from the same original line of human beings known as Adam and Eve. This was proven by science and DNA.

      Even so, this Truth is oppressed and denied by the “GOD-less global elitists” who believe that humans evolved from monkeys and the earth, sun and entire solar system along with everything else, was created by the “big bang.”

      The real irony is: the “GOD-less global elitists” say that believing in GOD and JESUS CHRIST are fairy tales. Won’t they be really surprised one day!

  4. So glad we left the state. Let’s create problems where few exist. Not to mention violating state and federal laws!! 

    • Ha you scared of being called out on ur racist bs, you don’t see the problems cause you white duh. Grow up and pls take some responsibility

    • Dear Cheryl,

      Do you really believe leaving the state will allow you to escape the woke madness? It might take longer to arrive in some states, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not spreading rapidly!

  5. “…..Critical race theory, a controversial concept that Society is inherently racist, and that therefore people must be treated differently based on race.”

    Read that again slowly…does this make sense? I guess it makes sense to people with their heads in the clouds or sand or wherever.

  6. They is what thewoke liberal socialists progressives want. Divide and conquer.  Good luck. 

  7. In Belgium the education system pushed this sort of thing and some people started burning the schools. You might think that is an extreme response, but I don’t. I have worked in public schools in a variety of positions and I can assure you that nothing good comes out of public school now and hasn’t for decades. The best thing we can do is defund and dismantle the US Public Education system. Never let a person with an Education Degree anywhere near children, they are not qualified to teach the basics they are only qualified to teach bizarre educational theory. Any teacher still at the Essex High School is part of the problem. You can not fix this from the inside. You can only eradicate it and start over from the beginning. Keep school hiring, firing and curriculum local.

    • I can’t say I disagree with defunding and dismantling, but short of a complete revolution how do we do it? The indoctrination centers are the lifeblood of their movement and have been for years, I dare say I might have been among the last that actually got an ‘education” from the public school system. I had the opportunity to interact when some grade schoolers this summer and discovered that they are not encouraged to act independently only in groups, every activity is organized, and have to carry a gigantic backpack with then with more than everything they need so they don’t learn how to improvise and adapt. It’s sad. You should see them when I tell them the fun I had when I was there age

      • It’s always been an indoctrination camp. ALWAYS. It’s just way more obvious now.

  8. Someone involved needs to file a Civil Rights Violation.

    The Civil Rights Division enforces federal laws that protect you from discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, disability status, sex, religion, familial status, or loss of other constitutional rights.

    There is an online reporting system at:

    Why do people think you have to be black or brown to have your Civil Rights violated? Being White or Caucasian is a race too.

  9. Likely gonna get much worse. Between Bernie, Becca, Miro, and David, they have all the answers and the right people to force those answers on us. Too bad it also cripples everyone except the uber-rich. Seen this movie before shown in many other towns.

  10. Well if you buy into all that crap all you have to say is

    I identify as black and/or white.

    Problem solved.

    • The real deal is that after everyone has admitted to being a racist and getting punished for crimes no one alive committed you will all then be requested to
      pull out your wallet and pay for those crimes you did not commit…. think reparations.
      This entire deception is a slippery slope and there will never be an end to it.
      There will always be the next step.
      What is truly sad is what we are teaching our children… that they may or may not matter based on skin color. We are creating systemic hatred in childrens minds.
      They will grow up feeling like oppressors who cannot read or do simple math
      because our educational system saw fit to be misguided. Shame on us for allowing this to continue.

  11. any time equity comes up it means that the liberal Democrats in charge in Vermont believe it is okay to discriminate by race as long as it is against white people. all people have the same rights and should be treated accordingly

  12. The Socialist Democrats have a long history of being the party of segregation. The only difference now is that they do so in a virtuous manner in an attempt to hide their true intentions. 

  13. I wonder what would happen if all the “white racist teachers resigned.” from the school system.

  14. “Teaching While White.” As if “Whiteness” is a condition, like driving while intoxicated. Heck, even worse, it’s criminal. Atone for your whiteness now!

  15. Essex is doing its best to become Essnooski with all its fine attributes.

    From the look of the path it’s on, it would appear to be near its objective.

    I think reparations can’t be far behind.

  16. Dismantle the DOE and AOE. The only thing public in public schools anymore is the kids. Staff should strike. And lastly, these so called anti-racist policies have been implemented across the board for the last few years. I ask proponents, is it working? It feels like we’re going backwards…..but that’s always the ase when equity is the goal.

  17. Demoralizing children based on race – is that not child abuse? What is in the kool-aide or what spell is the populace under? Allow the State to willfully mentally and emotionally abuse children with no consequence whatsoever? What a sick, depraved, degenerate society we live in here. My parents would burn the school to the ground and pummel the educators into the ground – which would happen in other countries, but not in this failing Hellhole.

  18. Parents need to take the children out of the public schools and march until the state secures school choice for every family in Vermont. The greatest social injustice is that only those who have money have choice.

  19. This is the embodiment of racism and causing division .Stop this indoctrination now .We the People of all beautiful races say No More !