Throughout 2020 we saw violent riots across the country spurred on by an anti-police narrative. It landed right here in Scottsdale, however briefly, when Fashion Square Mall was vandalized in the name of “social justice.” Anti-police rhetoric seems to permeate the mainstream media conscious, however divorced from real-world facts and data.
We would hope that the organization charged with educating our children, Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD), would not promote an anti-police theme, but that has been called into question. It has been revealed that SUSD has been promoting curriculum by the organization GLSEN that has a significant anti-police message. In fact, SUSD is such a strong advocate of the GLSEN curriculum that the Phoenix chapter of the organization praised Superintendent Scott Menzel for his support in a recent press release.
GLSEN, which bills itself as a resource for curriculum to support the LGBTQAI+ community, is an organization designed to insert political indoctrination across a wide spectrum of political thought into our schools. Under the guise of pro-LGBTQAI+ support, GLSEN has a stated goal of not only creating child activists for the goal of abolishing police, but also eliminating School Resource Officers (SROs) in our schools.
According to a GLSEN statement on SROs, their long-term goal is the total elimination of SROs. This is a curious goal given that it is not hard to find stories in the news about how student lives have been saved by SROs. Sometimes in a tragic fashion involving school violence. In others, much like a Scottsdale school incident in September 2021, Mountainside Middle School Security Officer Vincent Salus saved a student who was choking at lunchtime.
Beyond inspiring resentment, hate and fear for SROs, GLSEN also promotes anti-police rhetoric through their student material. Teachers are taught to use their voice of authority with students to explain how policing is a “white supremist” concept and police in general are dangerous for their minority peers. In March 2021, Cocopah Middle School Principal Nick Noonan required all teachers to attend GLSEN training. In April, the middle school won the GLSEN GSA Club of the Year award.
When asked during a Scottsdale Parent Council meeting last month about the district’s position on anti-police rhetoric being brought into classrooms, Superintendent Scott Menzel claimed ignorance of such content in elementary schools but allowed that it could be a topic discussed at higher levels. Menzel defended a teacher’s first amendment right to hold an anti-police position. Although he suggested that it would be appropriate for teachers to present both sides of anti-police issues, it should be noted that the GLSEN propaganda being used by SUSD for teacher training as well in student clubs only promotes the idea that police are inherently racist, and students should work toward the abolishment of police.
But while mostly white teachers, teaching mostly white students in SUSD schools promote an abolish-the-police message, what do the Black and Brown communities, most impacted by this nonsense want? According to the Pew Research Center, fewer than 25% of Black Americans support reductions in police. These communities see the impact of reduced policing as crime skyrockets touching the everyday lives of those who live in them.
Yet the curriculum being promoted to children in SUSD schools seeks to create activists for the abolishment of police. Of course, SUSD teachers and children go home to their Scottsdale homes, never having to consider the impact their anti-police rhetoric has on Black and Brown communities.
One has to ask… In Scottsdale… In 2022… do we believe we have a racist policing problem? Has anyone provided any data that the Scottsdale Police Department targets minorities and should thus be eliminated? If so, I haven’t seen it. Further, if anything remotely close to that kind of data was published, the DOJ would be here in less than a heartbeat.
So why does SUSD allow GLSEN’s hateful anti-police, anti-SRO rhetoric into our schools? This is a great question! One that has been asked by many SUSD parents. The answer… silence, obfuscation, and labeling parents as anti-LGBTQ+.
In a community statement issued by Superintendent Menzel last month, he claimed that, “there have been targeted attacks on student-created school clubs related to gender and sexual identity, sometimes called GSA clubs.” Menzel goes on to imply that those who have questioned the club’s GLSEN curriculum are really attacking the dignity and sense of belonging of the club’s participants.
In Menzel’s world, if a parent does not want their child exposed to anti-police rhetoric, along with many other politically charged activist agenda items that GLSEN promotes, SUSD has labeled them as anti-LGBTQ+ bigots.
At time of writing, several Scottsdale parents have filed open record request to gather more information about the use of GLSEN programming in clubs and classrooms, however the district has refused to comply with these requests.
As a community, we cannot let SUSD, and GLSEN by extension, deflect from their anti-police rhetoric by claiming any objection is anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry. The two have nothing to do with one another. SUSD needs to explain why they are promoting GLSEN content in our schools that seeks to create anti-police child activists. This deflection must not be accepted by parents or the community.