My Letter to My Kid’s School

 

I wrote a letter to my kid’s private high school, Gilman School, but as I received no reply, I decided it was reasonable to post to a broader forum, here on Ricochet as well as to other parents, in the hopes of more publicly forcing a reckoning:

We are Gilman parents for three students so far, including two graduates of the high school. Never have we seen the institution engage in such blatant and shameless bullying of students as we are seeing now: our son must toe the line, or be subject to comprehensive intimidation for not having the “right” opinions. I had never understood that we were supposed to emulate the McCarthy era. Live and learn.

I am sure you have seen the letter by a Brearley parent. If you have not, I urge you to read it here. It reflects the views of this family. And “Gilman” is an obvious fit for “Brearley” in this case. Indeed, we wholeheartedly endorse and agree with the letter by other Gilman and Bryn Mawr parents that has also been circulated. The Gilman Five are undermined by the very concept that we should be defined by our skin color instead of the content of our character.

Speaking for ourselves and our own current Gilman student: Why do we have to be subjected to letters and speeches about the death of a violent felon who had triple the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system, but nothing at all about the perils to our society of jury intimidation or mob justice? Similarly our son has to spend weeks on LGBTQ issues, truly the flavor of the day. Oedipus Rex was discarded for this? Seriously?

We find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, we find the constant stream of political dross that our son reports from Gilman repulsive and deeply discouraging for the future of our society. On the other hand, because our son is afraid to share his beliefs, or even float new ideas at Gilman, he is communicating more with his parents. There is a silver lining!

We just thought you should know that the current climate at Gilman is making at least one student deeply uncomfortable, and certain that if he so much as expresses an opinion he will suffer enduring consequences, consequences that have no place in a school which supposedly stands for free inquiry and against bullying of all kinds.

Please teach our son. Float above the politics.

Thanks,

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  1. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Go get ‘em, iWe.

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Would you like me to post this on RushBabe49.com?  I’d be happy to do it.

    • #2
  3. CorbinGlassauer Inactive
    CorbinGlassauer
    @CorbinGlassauer

    I’m sorry that you’re in this bind.  But I am happier to see you confront it.  You are setting an example to many.

    • #3
  4. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Would you like me to post this on RushBabe49.com? I’d be happy to do it.

    Sure! 

    • #4
  5. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    iWe, 

    Your son has a strong chance at surviving the Gilman madness. 

    It is these who have no parental support or foundation I’m worried about. 

    The irony of these parallel virus of SARS-CoV, like Critical Race Theory, Socialism, Climatism…

    I sure hope more people recover and develop immunity to all of them. 

    I think the vaxx for these is mature thinking?

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Way to go!

    • #6
  7. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    What will you do if they don’t?  How will the parents pressure the school to drop this nonsense?

    • #7
  8. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Posted over at RushBabe49.com.

    • #8
  9. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Wokeness is reaching the angle of repose. I’m glad to see you’re participating in the nascent avalanche. Such plain and public speech is exactly what is needed.

    Well done!

    • #9
  10. navyjag Lincoln
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    Good one iWe.  Old age has some benefits. Our kids went through the private school system over 20 years ago and have their heads screwed on straight.  If parents start revolting, like the folks in Texas (or was it Arizona) that routed the school board and elected sane members, maybe things can be turned around.  Sad what dumpsters the public schools have become. But parents who put out tens of thousands for private schools should not have to put up with this crap. 

    • #10
  11. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Andrew Guttman, the Brearly parent, has started a website for like minded parents:  https://speakupforeducation.org/

    He feels we are losing the battle, although there are encouraging signs.  But we mustn’t let up. 

    • #11
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The blogger at TheNakedDollar.com continually publishes articles on the private schools, with excerpts from parent letters.

    • #12
  13. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I know what students are going through because I was a graduate student not very long ago.  I was a full-grown adult with a family of my own, and it was absolutely suffocating.  Being too old to be silent, I challenged professors often and really got to see just how the machine works.  It wasn’t… uh… pleasant.  I changed exactly nothing.  So in the end, I’m not sure writing a letter does much. In truth, I think you have to be willing to withdraw your child from school if you really want change.  Yet change will not be achieved if just your one kid goes.  And I didn’t go.  I needed my degree to work.  I understood pretty quickly that the machine is very hard to break.  

    There is another silver lining though. 

    When I had gotten through school, I felt that almost every belief I had ever held dear had been absolutely challenged and trampled upon. 

    What was the benefit of this?  

    I have thought through all of my beliefs.  Really thought them through.  They have been tested and hardened by progressives who are not stupid, even though they are very ideological.  None of the mamby-pamby ones that had been in my own mind could survive, and the clearing out of the mamby-pamby was to my benefit.    

    Soooo… in some cases these schools are brainwashing children.  In others, they are creating intellectual militants who will forever think for themselves. 

    That second result isn’t horrible.    

    • #13
  14. Giulietta Coolidge
    Giulietta
    @giuliettachicago

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    The blogger at TheNakedDollar.com continually publishes articles on the private schools, with excerpts from parent letters.

    A tweak to the address: The Naked Dollar :)

    • #14
  15. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    I agree with Lois on this one. It feels good to send off a scathing letter to the school’s PTB, but is anyone going to pay attention until a critical mass of families take their $30K/year elsewhere?

    • #15
  16. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    So in the end, I’m not sure writing a letter does much. In truth, I think you have to be willing to withdraw your child from school if you really want change.

    Public criticisms of the school’s policies can be effective – much more than withdrawing a kid, since the school would fill his spot in a heartbeat. If donors/alumni/parents end up agreeing with me, the school will adjust its policies.

    • #16
  17. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    iWe (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    So in the end, I’m not sure writing a letter does much. In truth, I think you have to be willing to withdraw your child from school if you really want change.

    Public criticisms of the school’s policies can be effective – much more than withdrawing a kid, since the school would fill his spot in a heartbeat. If donors/alumni/parents end up agreeing with me, the school will adjust its policies.

    Is it really public? I don’t count Ricochet as public (sorry but I just don’t think many unaffiliated folks are reading Ricochet), but you did say you circulated the letter among other Gilman families. Did you get any response from them? Or has it been posted on social media, etc.?

    • #17
  18. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    So in the end, I’m not sure writing a letter does much. In truth, I think you have to be willing to withdraw your child from school if you really want change.

    Public criticisms of the school’s policies can be effective – much more than withdrawing a kid, since the school would fill his spot in a heartbeat. If donors/alumni/parents end up agreeing with me, the school will adjust its policies.

    Is it really public? I don’t count Ricochet as public (sorry but I just don’t think many unaffiliated folks are reading Ricochet), but you did say you circulated the letter among other Gilman families. Did you get any response from them? Or has it been posted on social media, etc.?

    Mrs. iWe is circulating to other parents, etc.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I’m kind of surprised to hear how negative some folks are. Protests have to start somewhere, and it can take a while for parents to get really riled up. It’s now starting to happen all over the country; in some cases it started with one or two brave parents. It may move in fits and starts, too, given the resistance people will meet. I commend @iwe for taking this on and for following through. That alone takes courage, given what his kids may have to tolerate, too. I can assure you that the Left hopes that more people will describe the venture as hopeless.

    • #19
  20. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I’m kind of surprised to hear how negative some folks are. Protests have to start somewhere, and it can take a while for parents to get really riled up. It’s now starting to happen all over the country; in some cases it started with one or two brave parents. It may move in fits and starts, too, given the resistance people will meet. I commend @ iwe for taking this on and for following through. That alone takes courage, given what his kids may have to tolerate, too. I can assure you that the Left hopes that more people will describe the venture as hopeless.

    Totally fair.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I’m kind of surprised to hear how negative some folks are. Protests have to start somewhere, and it can take a while for parents to get really riled up. It’s now starting to happen all over the country; in some cases it started with one or two brave parents. It may move in fits and starts, too, given the resistance people will meet. I commend @ iwe for taking this on and for following through. That alone takes courage, given what his kids may have to tolerate, too. I can assure you that the Left hopes that more people will describe the venture as hopeless.

    Totally fair.

    . . . and so appreciate your gracious reply, @charlotte.

    • #21
  22. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I’m not trying to be negative.  I’m simply stating the magnitude of the problem, which is giant. 

    I mean, it’s surely good to write a letter, but realistically it’s also important to think about next steps in this particular battle if the expectation is to have a result of some sort.  

    As I said, I was not willing to leave graduate school, and I felt absolutely discriminated against on an almost daily basis.  I spoke up whenever possible, but I had no power to do much of anything except leave, which would not have changed the situation because I, too, was absolutely replaceable in my program.  (I needed the credential the school could give me much more than the school needed my tuition, and that power dynamic cannot be ignored.) 

    Any grievance I ever aired was met with grave looks of concern, a couple committee reviews of my work to cover all the legal bases, and then…  a spectacular lot of nothing.    

    That said, to Susan’s idea that movements have to start somewhere, I remember a movie my grandmother used to love about South Africa.  I can’t even remember the title, but there was something that stuck with me, which was important.  One drop of water–or even a few drops of water–is barely noticed and easily ignored.  Many, many, many drops of water are needed to form a powerful waterfall, but when that happens, the force of the waterfall cannot be contained.  Or something like that.  You get the image. 

    Every waterfall starts with one drop of water.  

    That is true. 

    I hope iWe start creates a mighty current.  

    There will simply need to be many iWes for that to be the case.  

    And I also think there are going to need to be alternative schools/systems created.  

    That is very, very, very hard.  

    • #22
  23. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I hope iWe start creates a mighty current.  

    There will simply need to be many iWes for that to be the case.  

    Revolutions are non-linear events; it is not merely numbers. You never know in advance which straw broke the camel.

    • #23
  24. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    By the way, my kid is in school at this very moment, circulating my letter to other students while the teachers read snippets of the Brearley letter out loud to revile and ridicule the idiots who wrote it.

    The teacher will not share the actual letter with the students directly.

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    As I said, I was not willing to leave graduate school, and I felt absolutely discriminated against on an almost daily basis.  I spoke up whenever possible, but I had no power to do much of anything except leave, which would not have changed the situation because I, too, was absolutely replaceable in my program.  (I needed the credential the school could give me much more than the school needed my tuition, and that power dynamic cannot be ignored.) 

    I think I understand, @LoisLane. It must have been so discouraging. And I don’t think you were in a position to do a whole lot more than you did. But I think @iwe is in a position. He is well-known in his community. This isn’t his first time speaking up. And I think he would agree it will be as hard as you say. But when one’s kids are involved, and in a greater sense, the future of education is at stake, it is motivating to move forward–I would think.

    • #25
  26. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    iWe (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I hope iWe start creates a mighty current.

    There will simply need to be many iWes for that to be the case.

    Revolutions are non-linear events; it is not merely numbers. You never know in advance which straw broke the camel.

    I would happily jump up and down on the camel with you, pockets stuffed with straw and lead, so I hope you know my comments come from a place of good intentions.

    I work within the system now, which is my main contribution to this cause.  However, unlike many of my far left colleagues, I do not discriminate in my classroom against any ideological viewpoint.  I try to foster real tolerance for ideas and respect for open debate.  I try to challenge some of the preconceived notions, even if I agree with them.  I tell my students to never take a professor’s word, including mine, as coming without bias.  Every piece of information needs to be critically examined.   I want my kids to form their own minds, even if they think things I don’t. 

    Anyway, the state of education in the United States is one of my gravest concerns.  I am glad you are aware of the decay because it is tragic for our country. 

    As I said earlier, however, a good outcome for many more conservatively minded kids is that they really do have to examine their own views and learn how to defend them in ways that more progressively minded kids do not.  They are exposed to ideas that make them uncomfortable, and they have to think those through, too.  

    That can lead to a good result.  

    • #26
  27. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    This thread has a bit of a “raw nerve” quality about it, though maybe you have to read between the lines a bit to find it.

    What Mr. We did was certainly worthwhile, and I absolutely applaud him for it and hope that many follow his example. At the same time, those who express skepticism about the efficacy of such small gestures* are speaking, I think, from a position of true and understandable frustration and more than a little bit of realism: we are up against a juggernaut of social transformation and we all know it. While I believe victory is possible, I don’t believe that it’s inevitable, and that’s a frightening prospect.

    I’m often frustrated when I hear discouraging words from someone whom I know shares my goals. It rarely occurs to me that my own brand of optimism may sound unrealistic to some, wishful thinking, not taking the problem seriously. The temptation to express other than enthusiasm in the face of that might be nothing more than a cry for a seriousness that seems to be lacking. Both “we can win this!” and “it’s worse than you think” can be motivational; I think they’re both true, even if I’m temperamentally more suited for the former.


    * I said “small gestures,” but, as an outspoken politically incorrect parent whose children attended school in our small community, I’m aware of how hard it is to risk placing one’s kids in a situation where they may be made to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, or socially excluded. It’s a big decision with real consequences for the ones we love, and not something one does lightly. But it’s necessary.

    • #27
  28. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’m aware of how hard it is to risk placing one’s kids in a situation where they may be made to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, or socially excluded.

    I am in a bit of a good position on this score. My kids are proud of thinking for themselves, and do not value conformity for its own sake. This particular kid is a superb debater and loves a brilliant one-liner. 

    • #28
  29. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    iWe (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I’m aware of how hard it is to risk placing one’s kids in a situation where they may be made to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, or socially excluded.

    I am in a bit of a good position on this score. My kids are proud of thinking for themselves, and do not value conformity for its own sake. This particular kid is a superb debater and loves a brilliant one-liner.

    That’s good: you’ve done a good job, and both you and your son are fortunate. You mentioned in your letter that he was afraid to share his views at school. Certainly the awareness of how his views may differ from the endorsed view there has increased as a result of your letter. I’m glad he’s got the guts to deal with it, and I hope he even finds the engagement enjoyable.

    • #29
  30. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Just posted over at RushBabe49.com.  The Dictator of WA just signed a bill mandating Critical Race Theory training for all teachers in the state.

    https://rushbabe49.com/2021/05/09/washington-state-parents-time-to-pull-your-kids-out-of-public-schools/

     

    • #30