Beth Reams: Pembroke Hill teacher fired for anti-vaxx post deemed 'antisemitic'
A Missouri prep school math teacher was recently dismissed after an alumni group pushed back severely against her conservative posts on Facebook. The posts that people found problematic that the Kansas City educator shared was allegedly antisemitic content, deemed offensive to the Jewish community. Speaking to the media, the teacher identified as Beth Reams however complained that her liberal colleagues also share their left-wing views on Facebook but have never faced similar scrutiny.
News of the teacher's firing comes amidst a spate of similar penalties against teachers who have been vocal about being anti-maskers or who disagree with the critical race theory being taught in schools. Not that long ago, another Kansas City teacher Josiah Enyart was fined a thousand dollars for quitting ahead of his contractual deadline as pushback against the school district's renewed mask mandate and CRT lessons. California's Tiffany Wilder too was penalized with unpaid leave for explicitly bragging about her classroom being a 'no-mask' zone for students. Reams, who was a veteran teacher before she was let go of, told The Daily Wire, how she stands by her views and complained about her peers.
Who is Beth Reams?
The former math teacher was a full-time employee at the Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City, Missouri, for the last 25 years. In her time at the school, the teacher facilitated the operations of the most popular Conservative club on its premises. Her math classroom was however a zone devoid of any political chatter as she claimed she saw no use for it in that environment. For discussing and sharing political beliefs, Reams used her private Facebook page where she had shared posts like “It’s racist to think only White people can be racist," and "Good morning America! What are we offended by today."
Reams, who had made headlines recently for being in an ATV crash that killed her husband, was brought under the school's scrutiny after a member of the alumni, one of her former students, befriended her on Facebook. The student, a young Black woman, began allegedly challenging Reams' conservative values but the teacher admits she didn't unfriend her contrary to her friends' suggestions because she feared the former student would accuse her of racism. She also told the outlet that Permbroke environment is “hostile” toward conservatives, whether they are part of the faculty or the student body.
Posts made by Beth Reams
In screenshots obtained by the outlet, some of the Facebook posts shared by Reams are anti-vaxx messages that can be construed as antisemitic. A post shared by her reads "The horrific truth is ... (sic) if people were told to get into boxcars to be taken to 'vaccine protection camps' many of them would rush to get in line." The post made back in August of 2020 was soon confronted by Pembroke alumni who said the post had antisemitic undertones.
Reams, while speaking to the press, claims her intent was never antisemitic. “I posted this because blindly following government mandates is what the Nazis did,” she said. “I then was told it was read as the opposite, me saying the Jews followed blindly to their deaths. No thought of that ever entered my head, ever.” But before she could delete the questionable photo, her former student had already taken a screenshot and passed it around.
Reams was penalized
A Zoom video meeting was held between Reams and the school's principal and head of human resources. Reams had addressed in the meeting that their discussion was 'political' considering teachers with liberal outlooks on Facebook have never been reprimanded for posts they share. Reams ultimately sent conciliatory emails to the Jewish community and had to make a public apology on Facebook and share that she was working with the school as well as a Jewish community organization, and the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education to raise awareness within herself. She also agreed to meet one-on-one with parents of students, should they be concerned about having them in her classroom.
Reams, who had since allegedly befriended a hater-turned-advocate Jewish parent and student at Pembroke, was still being hounded on social media with several demanding her resignation. Unsubstantiated claims such as Reams being responsible for students drawing swastikas in other classrooms and the school scheduling prom on a Jewish holiday came up too.
Ultimately, Reams was asked to get on a call with the principal again over the Pembroke Hill alumni Facebook page's litany of allegations against her, she told the outlet. She maintained the allegations were false but the school put her on a paid leave while carrying on an investigation into the matter. Two weeks and dozens of class-related emails from parents and students later, Reams requested another meeting with the school principal and head of HR. She was then accused of taking a "colour blind" approach to teaching. She was allowed to return to school on March 1, 2021, but unlike other teachers, did not receive her contract for the upcoming year. When she asked about it, she was told that she won't be getting her contract until later in the school year as she was out of the classroom for almost a month.
How the school dismissed Reams
The next meeting Reams had with the principal saw her berated over her Facebook posts and she was informed that she would get a new contract with base pay. There was an additional contract that she would have to sign, which would discharge her of all extracurricular duties that significantly lowered her salary. She then repeatedly pleaded with the school to add back those extra curricular but in the end, she received an email from the Head of School, Brad Shelley, explaining that she had been relieved of all duties in part for bringing “negative attention” to the school.
“Even after the offensive social media posts you have made and the negative attention it caused you and the School, we tried to work with you throughout the year to get to a point where we both felt good about moving forward. However, it has been apparent during and after our latest meeting that the relationship between you and the School is fractured,” Reams was reportedly told in a mail, that continued: “At this time, it is best for us to go in our different directions, therefore, the offer of employment will not be renewed.”
Shelley told The Daily Wire that the decision to remove Reams was not out of “outside pressure” from the alumni group or even the negative attention from the media. “While it is our policy to not discuss personnel matters publicly, we will in this instance make one clarification,” Shelley said. “The decision to not renew faculty contracts is solely the decision of Pembroke Hill School leadership and in no way in response to any outside pressure or influence.”
Reams claims a liberal teacher has been allegedly hired by the school to replace her as the head of the conservative club. Further complaining about Pembroke Hills' allegedly left-wing agenda, Reams told the outlet that after the 2016 election, students in her formerly headed conservative club complained of other teachers imposing their liberal worldviews on them. One student had also claimed that a teacher called Trump "a coward"; another allegedly had congratulated students for voting Trump out of office after the 2020 election.