September 14, 2021 – West Bend, WI – Parents in the West Bend School District lined up to address the school board during Monday’s meeting. The hot topic was Critical Race Theory and Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
The bottom line was disappointment in the district, parents feeling the schools were not safe for children and many urged the school board to call an emergency meeting to remove the curriculum from the grade schools and high schools.
Liana Dronso has a son in the district. She played a video about an “explosive situation” that occurred at the high schools on Friday, September 10, 2021. The incident was described by the district as a silent protest however, the video showed students in the hallway chanting “black lives matter.” Police were called and the school was put on a “hold.”
“This isn’t about black, white, tan, or brown this is about the equity training and the SEL this district is teaching to all our beautiful children. It is divisive, bias, radically left Marxism designed to further alienate our beautiful children from each other,” she said. “That trust we have has been completely destroyed.”
“After so much deception, radical politics, and eruptions of violence we are pulling our son today from this school district.”
Jenni Thompson has two children in the West Bend School District. She raised the alarm and provided details of a divisive SEL curriculum tied to casel.org
Thompson quoted a 2020 webinar that said, “SEL should be used to favor certain students over others primarily because of their race.”
Thompson went on to quote other segments of the curriculum goal to “promote social justice,” and “make explicit issues such as power, privilege, prejudice, discrimination and social justice a part of SEL.”
“Kids at these ages are not emotionally mature enough to handle adult issues. The high school fights have proven me right,” said Thompson.
“In a 7th grade lesson unit 2 the teacher is asking the students to write something. We would normally use a 1-5 range. But not in these lessons, they are asked to put a fist in the air if they don’t agree with the statements the teacher reads. Do you know who also puts a fist in the air? Marxists, communists and BLM.
“I do not feel safe with my children going to school anymore unless the board takes decisive action to remove SEL in an emergency meeting.”
Quite a few parents asked the board to call an emergency meeting to remove the SEL and CRT curriculum from the West Bend School District.
“Stop teaching SEL in Badger and the high school and take emergency action to remove it now. You are causing harm to our children,” said parent Corine Freund. “It is not safe in our school. My son got beat up last week in your school district and I am tired of it.”
Nicole Casper has two children and already removed one from the district opting for homeschooling. “Why do you think it’s ok to continue teaching something parents don’t want,” she said. “Why is there such a pushback against parents who are concerned to have this stopped?”
Jamie Dutcher read from SEL curriculum that promoted a website for 13-and-14-year-old children. The website loveisrespect.org reminded students to “clear your history after visiting this website.”
“Sex can be a fun and gratifying activity for you and your partners to enjoy together. Five tips for your first time. … You can live chat your questions to us.”
Dutcher said she asked superintendent Jen Wimmer about the site and Wimmer told her the website was stricken from the curriculum.
“But under second steps copyright, “Any information in the text cannot be altered or edited or you have a breach of copyright. This cannot be blocked according to the copyright,” said Dutcher. “Remove SEL from Badger now.”
During the August 23, 2021 West Bend School Board meeting, parents lined up to address the board about concerns regarding SEL. No action was taken by the board on the issue.
During the September 13, 2021 meeting, the parents again expressed concern.
The curriculum issue was not an action item on the board’s agenda. The board did discuss possibly figuring out a way to “suspend SEL and delay the current lessons that are upsetting to some.”
Wimmer said she could ask to “delay the instruction and accelerate the next meeting.”
We have several calls out to Wimmer for an update following the Monday meeting.
The Curriculum Committee is slated to meet October 5, 2021. No public comment is allowed at that meeting however it is open to the public.
Saturday, September 18 the school district is hosting an opportunity for parents to review all materials. Right now, (9/14/2021 at 4:30 p.m.) that curriculum review will be held in the District Office, 735 S. Main Street. An hour is set aside for the review from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Below is the West Bend School Board meeting starting shortly after the meeting got underway at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.