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Welcome to The Millstone
Welcome to The Millstone. To understand what this blog is about, start by watching this video:
These are selections drawn from a much longer event held on April 22 in the Hamilton Southeastern school district. The event was called “Awareness, Advocacy, and Allyship”. I encourage you to see the whole video here to get the full context of the remarks in my five minute cut.
The people in this video want to instill their values and their ideas about gender and sexuality in children, and especially little children, who attend HSE schools. One panelist suggests doing so by “rewiring” the brains of “littles” and setting a “foundation” for their future thinking about these topics. Another suggests that it might be a good idea to talk to fourth graders about topics like anal sex. Several participants in the event think that there should be school clubs related to sexual orientation at the middle school level “or at any age level.” They seem to think that it doesn’t matter that the values they seek to instill in these children run contrary to the values of many of the childrens’ parents. They explicitly want to advocate their views in HSE schools even if there is some “pushback” from the “community”—you know, from the parents of the little children they are talking about. I’m not questioning their motives—in the longer video I linked, the panelists repeatedly express their care for the children. But a person can have good motives in recommending action that is obviously wrong, and that seems to be what is going on in this case.
Ok, you might say, but aren’t these just the opinions of some panelists who are not HSE employees? What does this have to do with the school district?
Well, this was an HSE event. These panelists were invited by the school district as an “amazing panel of experts.” And the district employees who were directly involved in the session—Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Nataki Pettigrew, Fishers High School Principal Jason Urban, and Librarian JoyAnn Boudreau—all appear to agree with the panelists. For one thing, nobody says otherwise. I don’t know about you, but if I were on a panel in public, and another panelist said that we should talk about anal sex with fourth graders, I’d definitely correct the record about my own view of the matter, and I’d likely walk. I don’t see anything like that here.
In fact, quite the contrary. Ms. Pettigrew says that the panel was “awesome” and “phenomenal” and thanked the participants for their “expertise” and for providing such “useful information.” And Mr. Urban thanked the participants in this “important conversation” and went on to confirm his own commitment to several of the panelists’ goals. And Ms. Boudreau asked about advocating clubs related to sexual orientation for little kids despite objections from parents.
So it doesn’t really sound like these district employees had any issue at all with the statements made by the other panelists, and Ms. Pettigrew and Mr. Urban explicitly affirmed the event. Of course, if they actually do disagree with the other participants, or they’ve changed their minds, or if they want to clarify anything, they are most welcome to reach out to me and I’ll post what they have to say on the topic here.
This is the sort of thing that The Millstone is going to be about. The HSE school district has gone bananas. I am going to use this blog as a place to talk about this. That’s my plan, anyway, and I hope it is helpful to likeminded parents in the district.
What can you do? Write letters and make phone calls. Contact all the involved district employees. Contact Yvonne Stokes, the new superintendent. Demand that these employees publicly apologize for their involvement in the event. Suggest ideas of your own about how to fix this mess, and share them. Talk to your friends, your family, your church, and your community. And most of all, be strong and courageous.
[Update (10 August 2021): Superintendent Yvonne Stokes subsequently spoke to me about this webinar, and you can read her remarks here.]