For the past three years, Natomas Unified School District in California has permitted an avowed socialist and member of the local “antifa” chapter to teach American Government at one of its local high schools.
And despite repeated student complaints, nothing was done.
Now their liberty-loving families are getting involved.
The current controversy stems from a video released on Aug. 31 featuring the still-employed teacher, Gabriel Gipe. The video is the work of Project Veritas, a group dedicated to exposing public and private corruption.
On tape, Gipe brags that he has 180 days to turn his students into “revolutionaries.” In addition to hanging an “antifa” flag and picture of the brutal communist dictator Mao Zedong on his classroom walls, Gipe assigns his students extra credit for attending radical leftist protests.
Gipe also requires his students to take an ideological test, which he uses to plot their positions on a chart hung on the classroom wall and then publicly shames those he deems too “right-wing.”
At the conclusion of the tape, Gipe laments that Americans have not taken up arms in order to violently overthrow the government and institute a socialist utopia.
When the video went public the outcry was, understandably, swift and severe. Gipe’s termination was quickly demanded by the Natomas community.
In a desperate move, the Natomas School Board announced that Gipe was being placed on paid leave pending termination barely an hour before a public meeting planned for Sept. 1.
The parents, students and community members who showed up to the meeting were not mollified.
Representing the Freedom Foundation, which fights corrupt government union power on behalf of workers and families across the United States, I was the first to address the Board:
“Members of the Board, I appear before you today as a product and direct beneficiary of the California public education system.
It was because of the efforts of fair and balanced teachers that I developed a passion for American history and ultimately decided to pursue a career in public service. And so, you can imagine my shock when I first encountered the video of Gabriel Gipe recently released by Project Veritas.
I was taught that being an American citizen is something I should be proud of. That for all the complexities of American history, what mattered most were the ideals upon which this country was founded. Including the principles of individual liberty and the freedom of thought.
That it mattered less what conclusions I reached than that I employed the proper critical thinking tools in order to reach them.
But apparently the curricula at public schools in California has changed since I was a student.
Teachers like Mr. Gipe appear more concerned with indoctrinating students according to their own political preferences, including through public shaming, than with teaching students how to think critically and to come to their own conclusions regarding current political questions.
How can we explain this shift?
I think this situation is best explained by the current operation of public labor unions like the Natomas Teachers Association and the larger California Teachers Association with which it is affiliated.
These entities no longer consider themselves organizations advocating for the wages, hours, and working conditions of their members, but as “social justice” organizations pushing a radical agenda to tear down and fundamentally transform American society.
The Board should immediately take all actions necessary to ensure that classrooms in this district remain free of the political agendas of individual teachers and labor unions, and that children here receive an education, rather than indoctrination.”
One by one, parents stood up and explained that the glorification of socialism and using the classroom as a recruitment for “antifa” have no place in their children’s schools. They explained their love for this country, many of them having served in the armed services, as first responders and in public service.
They declared that the problem is larger than a single teacher.
How did the School Board react? Did its members empathize with the parents and students? Did they try to understand their pain? Did they vow to correct their past errors?
Nope. They suddenly called for a five-minute break, and when no one was looking, they snuck out the back door.
The Board’s beleaguered general counsel was left to announce to a room full of concerned parents who had not yet had the chance to speak that the Board had decided to “reschedule the meeting.”
So much for taking the concerns of the community seriously. Apparently, it is all well and good to talk up democracy — until it becomes politically inconvenient.
Meanwhile, the families attending the meeting were left to discuss the issues amongst themselves and plan their next moves. Bewilderment at the Board’s sudden retreat quickly turned to disgust and anger. Many spoke of the possibility of lawsuits or getting the members recalled.
In the meantime, they plan to come back again, and again, and again until the Board takes the necessary action to ensure that students in Natomas receive an actual education, rather than an indoctrination.