Darien parents: on February 8, 2022, the Darien Board of Education approved additional funding to extend California-based DEI Consultant Ken Shelton's work with our schools through the end of the year.
While we know all parents in this community are in support of improving our childrens' exposure to "diversity" and "inclusion" in school, we feel that the term "DEI" is being misconstrued as a singular approach to achieving this goal that only a handful of "professionals" are capable of delivering. In fact, "DEI" is an entire field of study that encompasses a multitude of applications, solutions, perspectives and approaches, and to date Darien's administration has aligned with an agency (Partners for Educational Leadership) and consultant (Ken Shelton) who represent the most radical set of beliefs with a heavy focus on social justice.
We will continue to anonymously share education about and call for accountability related to DEI initiatives that impact Darien students on this site, so be sure to register for notifications of future posts and email us any questions or concerns you may have about student-related DEI issues.
Concerned parents may choose to opt their children out of DEI and SEL initiatives in Darien Public Schools by emailing the below letter to Superintendent Addley, BOE Chair Duke Dineen, and their respective school principal.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As taxpayers and legal guardians of our minor children in our community, we hereby exercise our right under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (The Hatch Amendment), the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution and laws of the State of Connecticut and Darien Public School’s policies, to direct the upbringing and education of our minor children, and hereby place the Darien Board of Education (“BOE”) and school administrators on notice of the following:
1. Under the Hatch Amendment, we hereby request that our children NOT be involved in any school activities or materials listed below unless we have first reviewed all the relevant materials and have given our prior written consent in each instance for their use:
a. 1619 Project b. Revisionist History c. Critical Race Theory d. Culturally Responsive Teaching e. Ethnic Studies f. Action Civics g. White Fragility h. Antiracism i. Systematic Racism j. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion k. Equity Initiatives l. BrainPop m. CASEL n. Any SEL programs, including, but not limited to Sanford Harmony, Edgenuity, Purpose Prep, Second Steps, RethinkEd, 7 Mindsets, Panorama, UnboundEd, the Wallace Foundation, Connecticut Center for School Change, etc.
2. In addition, we hereby request that our children NOT be given any Social Emotional Learning (SEL) without our prior written consent in each instance, including the following:
a. Any referral of our children to a counselor, medical professional, social worker, within or outside the school for purposes of discussing SEL, or any of the topics listed herein b. Any reference to or participation in a personal analysis, evaluation or survey that reveals or attempts to affect my child’s attitudes, habits, traits, opinions, beliefs or feelings concerning: political affiliations; religious beliefs or practices; mental or psychological conditions; or illegal, antisocial, self-incriminating or demeaning behavior c. Any advertisement of or participation in any group, organization, club, entity or activity that discusses or addresses sexual activity, sexual orientation or gender identity, under the guise of “bullying” or other rationale d. Any additional instruction and discussion, including but not limited to: classroom teachers, school staff, third-party providers, YouTube or other videos, films, live streaming, other audio-visual methods, textbooks, workbooks, or handout material, including any entity listed under Section 1 or any topic listed under Section 2 e. Collection of data concerning any characteristics of my child listed in paragraph 2c above, whether collected by the school, the district, any other governmental entity, or a contractor or vendor, and whether or not such data is personally identifiable
We are requesting alternative academic instruction for our children during the same period that any instruction on any aspect regarding above is provided or presented.
The purpose of this letter is to preserve our children’s rights under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (The Hatch Amendment) to the General Education Provisions Act, and under its regulations as published in the Federal Register of September 6, 1984, which became effective November 12, 1984.
Furthermore, we reference Darien Public School Policy 6330 – “Curriculum Design – Basic and Special Instruction Program” (https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1622223621/darienpsorg/faotktn0w1vgx8yzk6mc/6330.pdf): The purpose of family life education is to help students acquire factual knowledge, attitudes and values that will result in behavior that contributes to the well-being of the individual, the family and society. Family life education may include, but is not limited to, family planning, human sexuality, parenting, nutrition, and the emotional, physical, psychological, hygienic, economic and social aspects of family life. Family life education shall be in addition to – and not a substitute for – health and other required curriculum components. Because of the sensitive nature of such programs, the parent or guardian of each student will be notified prior to the commencement of the instructional program. Instructional materials to be used in the program shall be available for inspection by the parent or guardian during school hours. Opportunity shall be provided for all parents to consult with the principal regarding their child’s attendance in certain sections of the course. Parents who do not wish for their children to participate in family life education must provide written notification to the Principal or his/her designee to exempt their children from such courses.
These regulations provide a procedure for filing complaints first at the local level, and then with the U.S. Department of Education. If a voluntary remedy fails, federal funds can be withdrawn from those in violation of the law.
We respectfully ask you to send us a substantive response to this letter attaching a copy of your policy statement on procedures for parental permission requirements, to notify all our children’s teachers and principals, and to keep a copy of this letter in our children’s permanent files. Sincerely,
Name(s) of Parent(s)/Guardian(s)
Name of Student(s)