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“Hear what we have to say”

GREENWICH – Many parents angry with the school district for a variety of reasons – including its alleged teaching of critical race theory and its enforcement of a COVID-19 state requirement that students continue to wear masks – arrived at Central Middle School Thursday evening as police and security stood nearby ahead of an Education Council meeting.

“Today’s goal is, first, that we want to remove the highly sexualized language and content from the program,” said Jackie Homan, leader of a group called the The Greenwich Patriots who protested against these issues at Town Hall earlier this week. “There is no reason for unapproved items to be given to our children. It should go through the proper process. … Second, we want some transparency around the curriculum. We want to have the chance to step back from things that we think are too offensive. “

Homan, a parent of Greenwich Public School students, and others then went to the meeting, for which many had registered to speak during the public comments.

One of the first to step onto the podium, however, was Carol Sutton, president of the Greenwich Education Association.

Sutton, in his last meeting before leaving the head of the teachers’ union, addressed the protesters in the room and the attacks on teachers and classroom materials of many protesters.

“I’ll leave you with a very simple idea,” Sutton said. “We cannot protect our students from ideas. We can only prepare them for ideas. And that’s what teachers will continue to do.

The curriculum has served as a rallying point for the Greenwich Patriots, a group of loosely affiliated parents and concerned residents of Greenwich and the surrounding towns and villages.

The group funded a ‘Truth Truck’, which traveled through Stamford and Greenwich with a rotating LED display of sentences. In the past, he warned about COVID-19 vaccines, but on Thursday, as he appeared outside of Central, his post was “Teach to think / Not what to think” and “Stop using profanity content “.

In March, an educational cartoon video about physical and emotional abuse was shown to a distant second-grade class that contained a depiction of a man with an erect penis standing near a child, an incident which, according to Homan, concerned her.

“We just wanted people to stand up and hear what we have to say because what I found out is that most of my friends, who don’t pay too much attention because they have to work, they have a job, they have other things in their life, they don’t have the opportunity to look at their children’s homework with a microscope, ”Homan said outside the school ahead of the meeting. “I am not asking for a protest. We have simple things, give us some transparency, stop the dirt. I think these are pretty reasonable posts. I hope they are.

“The ideal outcome today would be some assurance that we are going to stop putting everything racially in schools and that they will select the program transparently,” she added.

Homan was talking about Critical Race Theory, an academic framework for considering race and power in relation to American history. Its alleged presence in schools sparked debate over the past year and polarized people in Greenwich, as well as nationally. Superintendent of Schools Toni Jones has repeatedly denied that critical breed theory is taught in Greenwich schools.

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, the Greenwich Patriots placed signs across Greenwich saying, “Unmask our children, ban critical race theory, protect medical freedom.”

The state’s Department of Education has repeatedly encouraged residents to wear masks, which are mandatory inside school buildings. The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory for children, depending on the state, but district officials were encouraged to share information with students on this matter.

Paige Windle, a 30-year resident of Greenwich, said she attended the rally, not as a parent, but as a “freedom fighter”.

Windle and others have raised concerns about the mask warrants and said the masks obstruct their children’s breathing, are bothersome, impersonal, and should no longer be required due to death and COVID infection rates. -19 decrease.

“When things are obligatory, when people are told that they have to obstruct their breathing,… then they should be allowed to say no and be supported for that decision,” she said.

The masks were also the reason Marija Mikolajczak said she showed up.

“I think they exceeded their target,” Mikolajczak said, adding that she wanted to ask the school board to end the mask warrants.

Mikolajczak was not the only person who wanted to speak out during the public commentary. Before the official start, more than 40 people had registered to speak.

Citing a “potential for increased disagreement,” the district requested a police presence at the meeting. Although counter-protesters were widespread, none showed up. The rally outside the meeting remained peaceful and moved inside as the meeting began at 7 p.m.

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