Ann Marie Banfield shares her testimony on HB61 for Bastion readers:
My name is Ann Marie Banfield and I am submitting written testimony on HB61, AN ACT relative to teaching on discrimination in the public schools and discrimination in public workplaces. As a parental rights advocate, focused on academic excellence in education, I urge you to vote Inexpedient to Legislate on HB61. Bringing back the ability to discriminate against children in our public schools not only hurts the children who attend our public schools, it hurts public education.
We know public school enrollment has been declining in New Hampshire for several years now. Our focus should be on making our public schools better so families can continue to send their children to the local public school. I focus on k-12 education, and have seen numerous examples of the radicalized Critical Race theory taught in our public schools.
This political agenda caused parents across the state to challenge their local school board members to reign in this kind of hate and prejudice that was aimed at their teachers and children. The anti discrimination legislation that was passed into law helped curb some of that discrimination.
Our children do not go to school to be shamed and blamed for events that happened during the time of slavery or anytime in history. But that’s exactly what has happened. Parents have come to me with examples of how their children were shamed and blamed for slavery. In one case, a New Hampshire a mother had to console her young daughter who blamed herself for slavery. This is not an education, this is child abuse and it was happening in our public schools.
Here is a social media post from a mother in New Hampshire describing what her child expressed to her mother a few years ago before the anti discrimination law was passed :
It is not ok to psychologically abuse anyone with that message. As a taxpayer who funds our local public schools, I do not want children subjected to this kind of psychological abuse.
Questioning, or even learning the history of this country will always remain an important subject. There are past events that need to be learned so they are never repeated. But it’s also important to understand all of the facts. Facts that show the exceptionalism that led men like Abraham Lincoln, and the abolitionists to use our founding documents, and their religious beliefs to fight for the dignity of all men and women. Parents are looking for truth, they are not looking for someone’s biased radical agenda that blames and shames students today for past events.
Condoleeza Rice was interviewed on The View, and disagreed with requiring white people to feel guilty for everything that has happened in the past. She mentions one of the most important features of CRT which is, the idea that black people have to feel disempowered.
Rice rejects this radical worldview, and goes on to say that she wants black children to be completely empowered, and to know that they are beautiful in their blackness. But in order to do that, she doesn’t want them to make white kids feel bad for being white. Condoleeza Rice just summed up why the radicalized CRT agenda is wrong for students in New Hampshire.
This new radicalized discrimination divides children and pits them against each other for no reason other than their skin color. Anti-discrimination language affirms our civil rights, and that is a good thing.
In 2021, we saw an influx of the radicalized Critical Race Theory training for teachers, and the curriculum aimed at children in the public schools. This came in under the umbrella of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice. It was so alarming to teachers and parents, that many of them mobilized to affirm our civil rights through the non-discriminatory language that was passed in HB2.
We saw teacher training in SAU16 that described everyone as white supremacists if they believed in a colorblind society. We had New Hampshire parents assuring their children that they were not responsible for slavery after receiving a lesson in history that placed the actions of slave owners on their children.
These are violations of the Civil Rights Act, but parents and teachers do not want to have to take their school district to court. There are costs involved, and it can be a lengthy process, as we are seeing in SAU16 right now. The school districts have tax-payer funded attorneys at their disposal, so it can be a daunting task to spend thousands of dollars on a private attorney to fight for our basic civil rights.
Currently there is an ongoing lawsuit in SAU16 where a resident is just trying to compile documents to see how CRT was implemented in the school district. Residents already uncovered information that shows that they were planning to push more bias and prejudice on the students. The Superintendent is using tax-payer funded attorneys to fight against producing these documents. SAU16 has already spent roughly $10,000.00 to keep these documents hidden.
We do know that SAU16 purchased books for the students on anti-racism. Anti-racism includes the same toxicity as the radicalized Critical Race Theory we are seeing in k-12 schools.
For instance, in the book SAU16 purchased for 8th grade children, the author says that there are two identities that we all fit in. You fit into the dominant culture if you fit into any of these identities:
You are in the subordinate culture if you fit into any of these identities:
2) Indigenous people of color of the global majority
3) Queer, transgender, nonbinary, cisgender women, youth
4) Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, non-Christian
6) Those living with disabilities
7) Those living in poverty, and more.
A student or teacher must then determine which of those two boxes they fit in.
This is why Condoleeza Rice rejected the narrative of CRT that we are seeing in k-12. She disagreed with requiring white people to feel guilty for everything that has happened in the past. She mentions one of the most important features of CRT which is, the idea that black people have to feel disempowered.
Rice rejects this radical worldview, and goes on to say that she wants black kids to be completely empowered, and to know that they are beautiful in their blackness. But in order to do that, she doesn’t want them to make white kids feel bad for being white. Condoleeza Rice just summed up why the radicalized CRT agenda is wrong for students in New Hampshire.
While this radical agenda in our schools may be wrong, the CRT/DEIJ/Anti-Racist agenda also violates our basic civil rights. Those rights were affirmed in HB2 with the anti-discrimination language.
Why would anyone think it’s ok to discriminate against any group of people based on their skin color? Why would we want to go backwards? Why would you not want to affirm the civil rights of all of the children and teachers in the public school system?
This kind of discriminatory behavior has been happening in many of the New Hampshire schools like Litchfield, Sanborn, Exeter, Hollis-Brookline, and Hopkinton, to name a few.
Parents set up websites, Facebook pages, and have objected to this discriminatory behavior at school board meetings. HB2 has helped those parents and teachers demand that their school administrators focus on academic achievement for all of their students.
Teachers are in a very difficult position speaking publicly, but HB2 helped them so they aren’t subjected to this kind of hate and prejudice in Professional Development.
It was David Ryan, Superintendent of SAU16 who admitted in a public meeting that they would have to change their professional development because of the anti-discriminatory law.
The professional development in SAU16 provided by 2Revolutions was questioned at a public meeting when someone asked about the Professional Development East Kingston teachers had to endure (1:22:29).
According to 2 Revolutions, teachers and children are covert racists and a white supremacists if they are:
-Of the belief that we should be colorblind when judging someone
-Are white parents self-segregating in certain neighborhoods & schools
-Live in an area where education funding is from property taxes
-Supports the message of Make America Great Again
-Denies White Privilege
-Believes in Exceptionalism
-Celebrates Columbus Day
-Claims reverse racism
-Assumes good intentions are enough
-Believes : But we’re all one big human family….there’s only one human race.
This is the kind of professional development we have seen in New Hampshire Schools. This is not training that is focused on helping all students succeed academically, but training teachers to blame and shame their colleagues and the children in their care.
The teachers in SAU16 were subjected to professional development by 2Revolutions who was hired to work with the teachers. According to 2 Revolutions if you live in an area that funds public education through property taxes, you are a white supremacist. That would mean that every resident in New Hampshire is a white supremacist, including all of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. They then work on dismantling your inherent white supremacy. But if you look at this new world view, you can never dismantle your inherent racism. These vendors sell their anti-racist propaganda for profit to schools that are willing to violate the civil rights of the teachers and children.
There are many more examples I can share but I think you can see that this kind of destructive bias we saw in New Hampshire schools prior to the passage of HB2. This was damaging to teachers and children in our public schools, but more importantly, it was violating their civil rights. The children who are in the subordinate culture may then begin viewing themselves as abnormal and inferior just as Condoleeza described in her interview.
HB2 provided a way for parents and teachers to fight back against the prejudice aimed at them. They shouldn’t be used as a political tool by political radicals. Our schools should be focused on academic excellence and literacy in the core subjects. They should be nurturing children in kindness and compassion instead of the character assassination we’ve witnessed.
It’s unfortunate that some of our educators thought that this radicalized approach in our classrooms was ok. It is not– it violates our most basic civil rights. There are ways that teachers and children can learn the truth about history without this kind of psychological game being played on them, and it shouldn’t include discriminatory actions aimed at teachers and children.
For these reasons I urge you to vote ITL on HB61.
Ann Marie Banfield
Parental Rights Advocate Focused on Excellence in EducationNorth Hampton, NH