Lawsuit Alleges Leftist Indoctrination in Nevada Charter School

By Author: Neil Campbell
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leftist indoctrination in Democracy Prep charter school
Some black boys see an improvement in academic performance after joining the club. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for Nevada on Dec. 22 between a black woman, Gabrielle Clark, with her biracial son William, and Democracy Prep Public Schools (DPPS) alleging that William was threatened with failing grades and non-graduation unless he complied with his teacher’s instructions to “‘unlearn’ the basic Judeo-Christian principles” in two mandatory socialist indoctrination classes, “Sociology of Change” and “Change the World.”

The suit states that despite William’s, a grade 12 student, mixed-race background, “unlike his classmates appears to be and is regarded by his peers as white” because of his blonde hair and green eyes. 

The suit opens with a screenshot “copied directly from Defendant school’s mandatory class material” showing a Spongebob meme subtitled “Reverse Racism Doesn’t Exist.” In the Exhibits section, the same slide is shown with a companion meme stating “Black Prejudice Does Not Affect the Rights of White People.”

evidence of leftist indoctrination
Democracy Prep includes leftist indoctrination in the classroom curriculum. (Image: Screenshot of lawsuit filed in US District Court, District of Nevada)

Google defines “reverse racism” as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a dominant or privileged racial or ethnic group.” In short, within the paradigm of this theory, black people cannot be considered racist toward white people if they discriminate based on skin color simply because white people are “dominant or privileged.”

Kathryn Bass, William’s teacher in the “Sociology of Change” class is listed as a co-defendant in the suit. The filings allege: “[Bass] required William Clark and his fellow students to reveal and make professions about their gender, sex, religious and racial identities, and subjected those professions to public interrogation, scrutiny and derogatory labeling as part of a curriculum.” 

“‘Hello my wonderful social justice warriors!’ Defendant Kathryn Bass greeted William Clark and his class… Ms. Bass then requested each student to ‘label and identify’ their gender, racial and religious identities as part of ‘an independent reflection’ exercise which was graded,” the suit alleges.

Bass terminated the class when she was challenged by students’ critical response to the indoctrination of her socialist paradigms. William was given a failing grade and penalized for not “completing graded identity confession assignments.”

Democracy Prep Principal and Executive Director Adam Johnson is also a co-defendant in the lawsuit. It is alleged that he threatened both Gabrielle and William with a failing grade if he didn’t submit to the re-education curriculum. When William was given a failing grade, it was at Johnson’s hand, “a D- on Plaintiff William Clark for the class, even though DPAC’s Handbook states ‘Democracy Prep does not give Ds.’”

Superintendent and CEO Natasha Trivers is another co-defendant in the case. Her role is to personally oversee staffing, design, and implementation of the charter school’s national curriculum program, including the Civics Program where “Sociology of Change” and “Change the World” are installed. 

The suit states: “She has publicly encouraged Democracy Prep students to think for themselves and ‘push back’ against DPPS school policies if students found them to be unjust.” However, the suit alleges that Trivers was both aware and “intimately involved in every action taken by Defendants towards Plaintiff.”

William was originally enrolled in Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy in 2014. New York-based DPPS acquired the Academy after receiving a $12.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2016.

DPPS met with great resistance from parents who were skeptical of the buyout. Trivers characterized the resistance as “Comprised of ‘haters,'” and lamented the difficulty of combating this opposition because of the sheer geographic distance between the school and the organization taking it over.

Parents were unaware of the ideological changes in the Civics Program, as Trivers had used the name of an existing program at Agassi that “addressed the workings of the democratic system, political history, and the importance of civic engagement” and “inserted consciousness raising and conditioning exercises under the banner of ‘Intersectionality’ and ‘Critical Race Theory’” when she modified the Program in 2017.

Many parents did not know there was a change in curriculum until they started witnessing concerning behaviour in their children. 

The suit alleges that the curriculum imposed by Trivers and DPPS was not optional and amounted to a clear case of forced indoctrination: “They require pupils to ‘unlearn’ and ‘fight back’ against ‘oppressive’ structures allegedly implicit in their family arrangements, religious beliefs and practices, racial, sexual, and gender identities, all of which they are required to divulge and subject to non-private interrogation.” 

Evidence of leftist indoctrination in school
Democracy Prep teaches that traditional institutions are oppressive. (Image: Screenshot of lawsuit filed in US District Court, District of Nevada)

“Some racial, sexual, gender and religious identities, once revealed, are officially singled out in the programming as inherently problematic, and assigned pejorative moral attributes by Defendants.”

The suit also notes that Plaintiffs were deterred by DPPS from transferring to another school mid-year as a matter of policy. Plaintiffs are also economically disadvantaged, with William working part-time as a manager at a fast food chain in order to help his family make ends meet, according to their suit.

“In a past email titled ‘no documents for transfers’ sent to defendant administrators, DPPS founder Seth Andrews stated ‘We are absolutely within our rights NOT to help transfers in any way transfers mid-way senior year [sic]. No transcripts, no letter of recommendation, nothing. I’m happy to discuss but no one at DPPS is permitted to help a senior who wants to transfer out”… “consider this non-negotiable.’”

Many of the suit’s claims are backed up with screenshots of course materials in the Exhibits section. 

Stephen Hayward at the Powerline Blog believes that a counter-revolution against leftist indoctrination is starting to occur in the youth, “…while misguided Millennials lean heavily progressive at the moment, the next generation of young people is going to swing sharply to the right out of rebellion against the stifling conformity of the progressive left that went into hyperdrive this year.” Hayward is a Senior Resident Scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley and a visiting lecturer at Berkeley Law School. 

The lawsuit comes on the heels of an Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump in September Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping that expressed the President’s wish to uphold the path the Founding Fathers and people such as Martin Luther King had walked to uphold the core foundation of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

“Today, however, many people are pushing a different vision of America that is grounded in hierarchies based on collective social and political identities rather than in the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual. This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans,” remarked the Order. 

On Dec. 22, Beth Labson Freeman, an Obama-appointed Judge of the U.S. District Court, issued  a nationwide injunction against Trump’s Executive Order in a suit brought by the Santa Cruz Lesbian and Gay Community Centre, stating: “…the Government’s argument is a gross mischaracterization of the speech Plaintiffs want to express and an insult to their work of addressing discrimination and injustice towards historically underserved communities”… “Plaintiffs have shown a significant adverse impact on their organizations and clients, and the Court finds that the public interest is served by reducing barriers to health care and other critical services for all communities.”

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