Disagree About the Source
I’ve challenged Mary Beeman’s relentless accusations of racism, lies, and conspiracies against Guilford’s teachers. Kendall Svengalis takes exception [April 21 letter “Toxic and Divisive Environment”]. He claims I’m in denial, confused, and obfuscating. Yikes! (For the record: I quoted Beeman’s actual words). Svengalis says others and I feebly attempted to “distract from the toxic and divisive environment...under Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Freeman’s incompetent leadership.”
We only disagree about the source of the toxic sludge. Svengalis thinks we’re in parallel universes, which seems likely.
In my universe, teaching’s a noble profession; educators deserve gratitude, not defamation. Even in retirement, the lawyer in me needs facts proven with evidence (not scurrilous, oft-repeated accusations). For instance: In national public school rankings, Guilford is in the top four percent, and Connecticut’s Association of Public School Superintendents named Dr. Freeman 2021 Superintendent of the Year. That’s evidence of competence in my universe. The evidence of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Guilford’s curriculum? None.
I believe that in Svengalis’s universe, allegations are proof and prevarications screamed repeatedly become fact. In his universe, we’re told stuff (and dare not challenge their cognoscenti). Dr. Freeman is incompetent—Svengalis says so. He tells us “what Mary meant...” (but not why she said the opposite). In his universe, teachers who’ve read a controversial book are Marxists, teaching racist dogma (suggesting we ignore their denials as Marxist-racists always lie). The superintendent, Board of Education, teachers, and staff deny the CRT canard. In his universe, that proves they’re all Marxist conspirators.
Joe McCarthy would approve, but the Svengalis universe seems bizarre. I’ll stick to mine.
Last year in Guilford: A prominent Black judge-scholar was reportedly threatened and a biracial family was harassed by White supremacists. Stoking racial animus for political gain may be allowed. It’s still an ugly, dangerous play.