Whistleblowing teacher accuses NYC’s elite Grace Church School of ‘indoctrinating’ kids with ‘anti-racism’ ideology
On April 13, in an open letter, Paul Rossi, a math teacher at the school that costs a whopping $57,000 a year, wrote: 'My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed'
In recent months, Grace Church High School in Manhattan, New York, has found itself at the center of many controversies. On April 13, in an open letter, a teacher at the elite private school that reportedly costs a whopping $57,000 a year called out the institution criticising its "indoctrination" of students through "antiracist" training and teaching.
In a column published Tuesday by former New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss titled 'I Refuse to Stand By While My Students Are Indoctrinated', Paul Rossi, a math teacher at the school, called to attention the various alleged errors on part of the institution. The school was previously on the receiving end of flak for issuing an "inclusive language" guide that allegedly warned staff, students, and parents against assuming someone's gender and using terms such as "mom and dad", even "parents" and "Merry Christmas" when referring to life from home.
In the open letter, Rossi criticized the school's "antiracist" policies, which he called "deeply harmful" and completely antithetical to "the virtues of curiosity, empathy and understanding."
What is happening at Grace Church School?
In the open letter, the teacher goes on to write, "'Antiracist' training sounds righteous, but it is the opposite of truth in advertising. It requires teachers like myself to treat students differently on the basis of race," Rossi wrote before going on to explain how the indoctrination is allegedly implemented, "My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed. Students are pressured to conform their opinions to those broadly associated with their race and gender and to minimize or dismiss individual experiences that don't match those assumptions. The morally compromised status of 'oppressor' is assigned to one group of students based on their immutable characteristics. In the meantime, dependency, resentment and moral superiority are cultivated in students considered 'oppressed.'"
"All of this is done in the name of 'equity,' but it is the opposite of fair. In reality, all of this reinforces the worst impulses we have as human beings: our tendency toward tribalism and sectarianism that a truly liberal education is meant to transcend," he continued.
Restrictions on teachers as well
"Furthermore," he added, "in order to maintain a united front for our students, teachers at Grace are directed to confine our doubts about this pedagogical framework to conversations with an in-house 'Office of Community Engagement' for whom every significant objection leads to a foregone conclusion. Any doubting students are likewise 'challenged' to reframe their views to conform to this orthodoxy."
Rossi also said that he was reprimanded for his conduct during a recent "mandatory, whites-only student and faculty Zoom meeting," during which he questioned, "whether one must define oneself in terms of a racial identity at all." He said a few days later, the head of school ordered all high school advisers to publicly denounce his actions to students. His aim at the time was to "model for students that they should feel safe to question ideological assertions if they felt moved to do so."
"Imagine being a young person in this environment," Rossi wrote. "Would you risk voicing your doubts, especially if you had never heard a single teacher question it?"
"I know that by attaching my name to this I'm risking not only my current job but my career as an educator, since most schools, both public and private, are now captive to this backward ideology," Rossi wrote. "But witnessing the harmful impact it has on children, I can't stay silent."
The 12-page 'Grace Inclusive Language Guide' suggested that phrases such as 'mom and dad' and 'boys and girls' must be avoided to make the campus more inclusive.
"While we recognize hateful language that promotes racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of discrimination are already addressed in our school handbooks, we also recognize that we can do more than ban hateful language; we can use language to create welcoming and inclusive spaces. 'Instead of 'boys and girls', 'guys', 'ladies and gentlemen', at Grace we say 'People, folks, friends, readers, mathematicians…'"
George Davison, Head of School, reportedly shared a message that administrators shared with parents, "As you may be aware, a member of the faculty wrote and posted an article that is critical of Grace and of our efforts to build a school where everyone feels they belong," the message read. "The process of building a community is often challenging, and I am disappointed that this individual felt it necessary to air his differences in this way."
"We have always held the goal of fostering an environment that is safe and welcoming for all members of the community across a myriad of differences," the message continued. "This is a work in progress, and while we are not always as successful as we would hope, we know that it requires the constructive engagement of everyone in the community."