D-51 School Board members attend seminar in how to fight equity and inclusion policies

“Stand for the Constitution,” the right wing extremist Mesa County group that endorsed and defended Tina Peters, also endorsed and promoted Angela Lema, Andrea Haitz and Will Jones for School Board. All three candidates ran as a far right wing extremist slate. Now two of them are getting training in how to battle policies that aim to help all children feel welcome and accepted at D-51 schools.

The Colorado Times Recorder is reporting that D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz and D-51 Board Member Angela Lema attended a seminar at a Grand Junction hotel on August 26 called “Save Our Schools,” put on by Heritage Action for America, an affiliate of the right wing Heritage Foundation. The seminar taught people how to fight equity and inclusion policies in schools and provided resources to help them.

What are equity and inclusion policies, anyway?

Equity policies assure a school’s programs and operations are impartial, fair, and provide equal as possible outcomes for all students regardless of their race, gender, sexual identity or orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age or disability. Inclusion policies assure all students feel welcome at school without being bullied, harassed, judged, mistreated, abused or shortchanged in any way due to any of the above characteristics that they cannot control. The idea is to promote a welcoming environment at school for all students that is free of harassment and discrimination and in which all students can feels safe, grow and benefit socially and intellectually.

“Save our Schools” instructs activists in how to fight the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a post-graduate course taught in graduate schools, like law schools. CRT is a legal and academic analysis of the ways racism still poses a systemic problem in certain areas of American society. Examples of these problems include practices like “redlining,” the systematic denial of financial services like mortgages, loans and insurance to people of different races and ethnicities; disproportionately lower pay and higher levels of unemployment among minority groups; Black homeowners whose homes get assessed at lower values than white homeowners with equivalent houses, and job applicants who have white-sounding names getting called back 50% more of the time than applicants with Black-sounding names, even when the people have identical resumes.

CRT isn’t taught in District 51 schools because they just provide K-12 level education, but Heritage Action for America still bills their “Save Our Schools” seminar as “a one-stop resource for parents and concerned activists” who are “looking for ways” to keep equity and inclusion policies out of schools. Heritage Action for America calls equity and inclusion policies “Marxist, racist ideology.”

So the question is…

…why would D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz and Angela Lema attend a seminar in how to battle policies aimed at helping all children feel comfortable and accepted at District 51 schools? And how can such policies ever be considered “racist” or “Marxist,” when they are aimed at achieving a social good of helping children feel more comfortable and welcome at school?


  9 comments for “D-51 School Board members attend seminar in how to fight equity and inclusion policies

  1. I have no idea why this is so surprising. The culture at D51 was-is-and continues to be exclusionary and discriminatory. You can’t expect a system to ever change when they constantly recruit leadership from the existing pile of trash. The board members are the least of the concern- try the existing leadership who do nothing to address staff who actively do things to hurt students on a daily basis.

    • I’m interested in knowing what some staff are doing that hurts students – since I dont have kids in school here, I’d like to be better informed –

  2. The first item of business for these antiDiversity types —- which is already affecting D51 — is to eliminate delivery of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey.

    Rather than simply opting their own children out of the survey, they are bent on denying all students the right to give direct input regarding their own life conditions.

    Eliminating the HKCS in schools simultaneously eliminates funding for special Ed, hunger remediation, health care, and tens of other youth needs.

    In fact, the “generous” raise that the board gave D51 teachers came with a huge (undisclosed) increase in work load. Many D51 teachers are now expected to manage 25+ kids while also serving as special Ed assistants to students who no longer have classroom aides.

    People can read about the survey here. https://cdphe.colorado.gov/hkcs

    Haitz and Lema are operating within standard evangelical purity culture mentality, whereby if students aren’t allowed to talk about a problem then it must not exist.

    For those who are unfamiliar with evangelical purity culture dogma, #ChurchToo is a fab book which explains these biases in detail.

  3. The new health plan with the Morman/Catholic hospital system will probably deny coverage for District 51 woman in important areas of health care.

    • Ah, Andrea “My hubby sells phony COVID cures” Haitz and Andrea “Trust me, I’m an educator” Lema … for them, this pseudo Klan Really is just par for the course. Strip Club Willy not attending though?… Hmmm. I wonder. I know he’s a coward…. Maybe he didn’t read the invite?

  4. Their attendance poses some interesting questions: Who paid their registration fee? Was their attendance discussed in advance with all the other board members? Did they report their attendance at this seminar at the 8-30-22 Board Meeting?

  5. What a backwards place Mesa County is. I have lived in many places with varieties of political and socio-economic systems and have never been in such a regressive place until I chose to move here a few years ago. It is a good thing I don’t have any children in the system. They may be different than others and would be treated differently as a result.

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