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WUSD 'Return-to-school' guidebook. (Photo: WUSD)

Teachers React to Parents Called ‘White Supremacists’ for Demanding In-Person Learning

‘The culture of intimidation used by local union leadership is preventing our school children from returning to class’

By Katy Grimes, April 1, 2021 6:51 pm

The Globe received several interesting responses from teachers to our article about the group of parents who were called “White Supremacists” by a Sacramento teacher and union representative, for speaking out at a school board meeting in support of returning to in-person teaching for their children:

Parents calling for in-person learning and supportive of the online group Reopen California Schools got an earful over the weekend. A teacher who lives in West Sacramento but teaches at Kennedy High School in the Sacramento City Unified District went on a rant Sunday morning on Facebook, the Globe has learned.

“During a call-in board meeting he gave a four minute rant calling all parents that want their kids back in school ‘white supremacists,’” a parent told the Globe. Reopen CA Schools posted it to their twitter feed. “And the guy, Damian Harmony, still has the comments proudly posted to his FB page.”

One teacher called the Globe Thursday and spoke extensively about the teachers union pressure taking place to keep kids out of school, as well as the less-than-serious attempts by school districts at getting students back into the classrooms for in-person learning.

Another teacher said one district actually asked the students if they wanted to come back to school. Only about 40% chose to return to in-person teaching, and they are very limited to in-class time, their desks are spaced out, they cannot touch, and must wear masks.

The teacher said the students are confined at school to little trails and arrows, can’t congregate, there are no dances or rallies, and they are distanced. “That’s not really being back at school,” the teacher said.

All of the teachers the Globe spoke with, from several different school districts, referred to a “culture of intimidation being used by local union leadership.”

An email from another teacher offered additional context:

On Sunday March 28 a Sacramento Unified Teacher, but West Sacramento resident, Damien Harmony called parents who are pushing for schools to resume in-person learning, as “white supremacists” and pearl-clutching bullies.

Damien Harmony is on the negotiating team for the Sacramento City Teachers Association.

On March 31, our Washington Unified School District issued a public non-apology apology without addressing the specific remarks made.

But there is more to our story. We are a district where 71.2% of the student population is of color.

On the north side of our town 89% of our families qualify for free and reduced lunch.

According to a survey issued by our own district, over 60% of families want in-person instruction.

In January our district hired the first black Superintendent in 100 years of our history.

We are a district that beautifully represents a cross section of America’s cultural, social, economic and religious diversity and yet our school district failed to issue a strong statement. It failed to denounce the baseless allegation of white supremacy, and it failed to issue a statement that supported our culturally diverse community.

Reopening our schools to the fullest extent possible is not a racial issue – it is an equity issue. This is particularly true here in California where education is constitutional right guaranteed to our children.

The teacher also wrote, “WUSD Board of Education President Coby Pizzoti is a union lobbyist in his full time occupation.” The Globe verified that Mr. Pizzoti is a lobbyist and a partner in a lobbying firm, and is also a volunteer Trustee on the Governing Board at Washington Unified School District. His school board bio says, “He has worked for four individual legislators, Assembly speakers Herb Wesson and Fabian Nunez, labor organizations and political campaigns. Mr. Pizzotti’s experience with labor and politics dates back nearly 20 years.”

Coby Pizzotti with Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Photo: Coby Pizzotti LinkedIn)

One of the parents in our last article said, “It’s starting to get really ugly here in our one horse town… our one horse town that had the Governor endorse the School Board President,” the parent said ironically.

That could explain Mr. Pizzotti’s photo on Linkedin.

The teacher confirmed the limited in-class schedule: “At the current time, our school district remains in a 2 hour / 2 day per week in person hybrid. For example, our fifth grade students are receiving 100 to 200 minutes LESS of instruction per week than in the traditional in-person model.”

“The culture of intimidation being used by local union leadership is preventing our school children from returning to class and forcing our children to fall further and further behind.”

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14 thoughts on “Teachers React to Parents Called ‘White Supremacists’ for Demanding In-Person Learning

  1. Hmm, bullies!
    Does Sacramento Unified and Washington Unified have anti bullying ordinances in their districts? What type of behavior are they modeling to all the children they serve? I say dismiss them all and fire the superintendent on the basis of bullying tactics. Their tired hyperbole has no place in our tax paid schools!
    Parents should also sue Mr. Damian Harmony for slander!!
    Teach your kids bullies lose in the end!

    1. The mobster-like behavior of these union figures is becoming more naked, it seems, and that’s extremely troubling. The idea of calling out Pizzoti’s “conflict of interest” as we used to do in the old days almost seems quaint, now. I don’t know where we’re going with all of this but it’s obviously not good. All the more reason to reason to RecallGavin. (As you know…)

    2. Little Damian Harmony needs to have his head examined. The guy doesn’t know enough to keep his mouth shut that appears that he is desperately seeking someone to do it for him.

  2. The Los Angeles teachers union — UTLA released a list of “Common Good and Community Support Demands” to be met before they will let teacher go back to school . Most of the demands have nothing at all to do with teaching or students. Additionaly, the want Police defunded (not included on the published list).
    Parents are suing UTLAfor personal injury to their children. For fear of reprisal by the union and its members, they choose to remain anonymous in the lawsuit.

    Link to UTLA demands: https://www.utla.net/common-good-and-community-support-demands
    Link to lawsuit: https://www.freedomfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/HK-et-al.-v.-UTLA-et-al.-Complaint-FINAL.pdf

    1. Weirdly and nonsensically, they call THEM white supremacists too. Just shows you how full-of-it these people are.

  3. It doesn’t make sense at all. I believe any parent, who is looking out for the best interest of their children, is a “concerned” parent regardless of race, zip code, or financial status. They love creating civil unrest and racial division.

    1. Stacy, I agree —- you are exactly right. If these leftists don’t have their identity politics they don’t have anything. They must accuse and name-call and try to shame so that all sensible people with good values and common sense are made to think they are racists and to feel guilty about it. How can such people undermine the foundations of society without that? And they DO want to undermine what’s good.

  4. Little Damian Harmony needs to have his head examined. The guy doesn’t know enough to keep his mouth shut that appears that he is desperately seeking someone to do it for him.

  5. Get involved, join California School Choice Foundation. Go to http://www.californiaschoolchoice.org/
    In the meantime, get your kids out of public school. Just when you think it can’t get any worse than it is today, they implement a critical race theory and BLM curriculum. Remember, everyday that your kid is enrolled, the public school gets allocated funding. Get out now. What do you have to lose? Really?

  6. Well, I think we should consider this incident a blessing in disguise. The lid is off and the corruption exposed. Now what?

  7. Our kids are suffering. No sports. No staring at your crush at the other side of the class. No proms. No hanging with friends. Even for those that have reopened, it’s still masks and restrictions. And this teacher says that the parents of students who want to resume in class instruction “white supremacists.”

    1. Art, you are so right. This is so well put. It’s OUTRAGEOUS. I can hardly stand to even think about it so imagine what they are going through. And then to have the parents called such incendiary names in the wake of this…. really, it’s too much.

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