equity

Diversity Educator Wants to ‘Burn Things Down’ To Achieve Equity!

Casey Menninger, a diversity teacher in the Jefferson County Public School District’s Foster K-8 school, was recently found to have had private emails where he expressed his struggle with wanting to “burn things down” that didn’t represent equity.

The records revealed that Menninger had wanted classes to focus on bad things done by White people and expressed frustration at staff who did not support his equity class. He also noted how he was struggling with not-so-subtle shots being taken at him and how difficult it is to impact change when others don’t see a need for it.

“I will have a quick presentation for 8th grade in the next couple weeks… I just want them to work on some of the communication skills and understand some terrible things White people did,” he said in one email.

Nicole Head, who was also involved in working on the mandatory DEI class, addressed Menninger’s emails in her own email suggesting that they use this as an opportunity to grow stronger as a team instead of letting feelings of misunderstanding or unappreciation divide them. She suggested that the missing link may be assuming positive intent from each other and expressed her willingness to do what it takes.

“You may not always love the content… yet you are asked to represent the class as their teacher anyway. I imagine many (or all) of you have held back on giving me feedback for fear of offending me or sounding judgmental,” Head said.

It is clear from these emails that there is tension between Menninger and other staff members regarding the curriculum for the mandatory DEI class.

“The meetings are very difficult,” Menninger said in an email written in August of 2021. “I am trying to impact change in a positive way, but it is very hard to not want to burn things down that I don’t find equitable.”

It is important for teachers of all backgrounds to come together and work towards creating an environment that fosters an equal opportunity for children to learn but the forced ideology of equable outcomes and diversity of appearance but not of thought should be pushed back on especially when a mentally unstable person like the example above are the ones teaching the children in the first place.

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