Enough is enough.

I can no longer remain silent as certain people in our community demonize our hardworking public education employees, which include bus drivers, classroom aides, teachers, custodians, secretaries, nurses, maintenance workers, cooks, principals, coaches, superintendents and our unpaid, volunteer school board members.

This parroted mantra stating our children are being taken over by “fanatics who are now openly working to demolish a recognizable America and build their Communist utopia…” is absurd. These repeated accusations of “indoctrinating our children to hate America” and of teaching them to hate themselves and the community in which they live are simply wrong.

Continuing the clarion call of Get-ready-the-Communist-Socialist-left-leaning-Marxist-zombies-are-eating-our-children’s-brains is harmful to our students, schools and communities. The media contributors and elected officials circulating these lies need to cease and desist or show us their proof because I have seen a very different reality.

I am a retired teacher. My 30+ year career started in a high school where I ran a preschool program through which high school students rotated for the hands-on experience of working with young children. Next, I moved to a small rural community to teach in a 5th/6th grade combination classroom. My final professional position was teaching English, reading and world history at a middle school.

In my role as a parent and a grandparent, I have volunteered many hours in our local schools at different grade levels. Guess what? Never once did I see a worksheet on “How to Become a Communist.” Never once did I encounter a poster on the wall touting “Why You Should Hate Yourself and Who You Are.”

Not too long ago, parents wanted educators to stop the student-to-student bullying in our schools. Today, some of these same parents have chosen to use bullying tactics in an attempt to get their way, showing children that aggressive behaviors are acceptable. The messages that adorn the classroom walls that I have seen encourage students to act with honor, compassion, courage, honesty, fairness and kindness. These are values we all once shared. Do we still today?

At the state level, Lt. Governor McGeachin wasted taxpayer dollars searching for the boogeyman she wanted to find in our schools, namely, those evil preschool teachers who have been “indoctrinating our toddlers.” I guess The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a socialist tome?

Big surprise: her witch hunt task force has found no such shenanigans! These false accusations, however, stopped the Legislature from accepting $6 million in federal funding to help with early childhood care and education in Idaho. Other states are thankful to have these extra dollars to spend on the all-important care of young children in their programs.

School employees are busy teaching our children to read and making sure their classrooms are clean and safe. Our communities should support all students and educators.

It is disheartening to me that there are people in our community who have probably not visited a classroom or school in years. And yet, they repeat horrible accusations about our schools based on hearsay or based on the fear-mongering by entertainment personalities and/or negative community members.

However, the most egregious contributor to this misrepresentation is the educator, now Press op-ed columnist, who circulates these mistruths. Both know this conspiracy theory nonsense is simply not true. No matter how much these naysayers push their “be afraid” agenda, the truth lies in the everyday activities and lessons in schools.

Do schools have room for improvement? Of course, just like all other organizations. However, I have always maintained that if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

Condemning and demonizing our schools and education employees does not help create quality, 21st century schools in Kootenai County. These negative tactics are detrimental to the morale of school personnel and to the improvement of our schools.

My Turn
Jan Studer

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