UPDATED: 4.20 p.m., May 6 — Based on recent re-interviews with the parents, the article below has been updated to make clear that the parents of the student reached out to district officials on several occasions regarding concerns they have had about the teacher’s lessons and other curriculum. The parents contend (and have provided emails to support the contentions) that teachers and administrators have previously been slow to respond. However, Verona High School’s principal did return a call regarding the parents’ latest concerns on the same day they were communicated and the article has been modified to reflect that timing.
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The parent of a Verona High School student said an English teacher recently taught her class that “all cops are racist” and compared them to “slave owners.”
It’s just the latest example of anti-police rhetoric in a liberal suburban school district steeped in race-based curriculum, concerned parents tell Empower Wisconsin and conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna.
The father of the high school student said his son’s new teacher, Valerie Vinyard, last week devoted an entire class to the topics of “white privilege” and “police violence.” The conversation stemmed from the recent police officer-involved fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man.
“Yesterday she devoted another 1.5 hour class to lecturing the kids to what I believe is her activist views,” said the father, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his child from bullying. “Here are some terms she used yesterday in class…..’all cops are racist.’ ‘Cops are like slave owners.’ ‘If you are black and the police pull you over, you will get shot.”
The source, a former Twin Cities-area police officer, said Vinyard “went on to say how she supports Black Lives Matter and encouraged the kids to protest. She made reference to how Trump is racist.”
He said his son told him about the educator’s political rant in a nightly dinner table conversation, where such subjects come up “almost daily.” He said there’s so much left-leaning re-education going on in Verona schools that he and his wife feel like they have to “de-program” their children.
The school’s principal did return a call to the parents about their latest concerns.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention earlier today. We are looking into the concerns raised by the parents,” Raechelle A. Belli, public information officer for the Verona Area School District, wrote in an email Thursday afternoon.
Another parent tells Empower Wisconsin that Woke indoctrination is ingrained in Verona’s educational culture. The parent recalled seeing a banner in the high school hallway with a timeline and a headline declaring, United States: 400 Years of Oppression.
In a middle school class, a black teacher made all the kids stand up and move to one side of the room if they believed in white privilege, and to another side if they didn’t. “That put all of these kids in a really awkward situation,” said the source, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.
The source said there is a “palpable disdain” for police among high school leadership and the superintendent, publicly expressed in the district’s decision to remove the student resource officer from the high school, despite the many incidents of fighting on school property.
Perhaps the radicalization of school culture and curriculum should come as little surprise. Verona’s school board President is Noah Roberts, senior policy advisor to liberal, identity politics practitioner, Gov. Tony Evers.
“It has been very frustrating,” the source said. “We have seen a district that has declining achievement, a high rate of students not proficient in language arts and math and we continue to focus on dividing people with race, not focused on making Verona School District students successful.”