Who is Dana Stangel-Plowe? NJ teacher quits over school's critical race theory policies
In Bergen County, New Jersey, an White English teacher has resigned from a $52,000-a-year private preparatory school, claiming that the school is using critical race theory to create a “hostile culture of conformity and fear”.
She has said that the Dwight-Englewood School’s head told the entire faculty that he would fire everyone if he could to replace them with people of color. She also accused the school of segregating teachers by their skin color, and said students were also made to segregate themselves “within the oppressor or oppressed group.”
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Who is Dana Stangel-Plowe?
A graduate of Cornell University and a published poet, Stangel-Plowe has taught English to high school students at Dwight-Englewood since 2014. In her resignation letter, she said that she became a teacher at the school because, “as a parent, I loved how the school both nurtured and challenged my own children.” She added, however, that has changed now.
She said that students arrive in her classroom accepting as fact the following theory: “People born with less melanin in their skin are oppressors, and people born with more melanin in their skin are oppressed. Men are oppressors, women are oppressed, and so on. This is the dominant and divisive ideology that is guiding our adolescent students.”
In her resignation letter, published on the website for the “nonpartisan” advocacy group Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) -- founded by Bion Bartning, who has been vocal against critical race theory -- Stangel-Plowe claimed that she shared with the principal of Dwight-Englewood’s Upper School her “negative experiences among hostile and doctrinaire colleagues” in 2019 but found no follow-up.
“Since then, the stifling conformity has only intensified. Last fall, two administrators informed faculty that certain viewpoints simply would not be tolerated during our new ‘race explicit’ conversations with our new ‘anti-racist’ work,” she wrote.
She claimed that these administrators said that no one would be allowed to “question the orthodoxy regarding ‘systemic racism’.” She added that on at least two separate occasions in 2017 and 2018, the Head of School, standing at the front of the auditorium, told the entire faculty that “he would fire us all if he could so that he could replace us all with people of color,” adding that the school has become a workplace that is hostile toward educators “based solely on their immutable traits.”
She said that she rejected the school’s “essentialist, racialist thinking about myself, my colleagues, and my students. As a humanist educator, I strive to create an inclusive classroom by embracing the dignity and unique personality of each and every student.”
Joe Algrant, the principal of Dwight-Englewood’s Upper School, in a statement, said that he would not comment on this issue. “In this case, all I can say is that Ms. Stangel-Plowe notified us several months ago that she would not be returning next school year,” he said.
The school’s website claims that Dwight-Englewood prides itself on its diversity “by being a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable institution for students and adults across race-ethnicity-culture, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, and sexual orientation.” Students, per the school, have opportunities to be active in conversations, numerous clubs and groups focused on diversity. “The ultimate goal of our diversity initiatives is to support the mission of the school and to foster learning and engagement in matters of equity inclusion,” the school claims.