POLICE have released details of the final journey made by 28-year-old Sabina Nessa on September 17, during which she was murdered.
Read more here Daily Express :: UK Feed
POLICE have released details of the final journey made by 28-year-old Sabina Nessa on September 17, during which she was murdered.
Read more here Daily Express :: UK Feed
Why critical race theory is becoming controversial
From Donald Trump to Barack Obama, critical race theory has become a talking point. Find out why it’s getting banned in classrooms across dozens of states.
Just the FAQs, USA TODAY
CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s Republican lawmakers have inserted, and the governor has signed, a state budget that prohibits the teaching of so-called “divisive concepts” related to race and gender by public schools, state agencies and contractors. But what exactly does that mean?
Though the term divisive concepts no longer appears in the language attached to the two-year $ 13.5 billion state budget, many of its themes are repackaged into several lines of legislation beginning on page 154 of the 220-page bill, according to civil rights groups and educators.
“One of the central problems with this bill is its ambiguity in what constitutes a banned so-called ‘divisive’ concept,’” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire. “One part of the bill aims to permit ‘workplace sensitivity training’ while other portions of the bill ban speech aimed at addressing ‘unconscious racism’ in the workplace. Similarly, one part of the bill purports to protect academic freedom while another portion bans the teaching on so-called divisive concepts. Frankly, the bill is indecipherable and internally contradictory.”
From the military to classrooms: Find out why critical race theory is causing a divide
The biggest area of concern for opponents of the budget language is its potential impacts on education. The law allows for teachers found in violation to be brought before the state Board of Education for disciplinary proceedings and potential loss of their educators’ credentials. Guidance on how the provision of the law will be enforced is still being formulated at the state department of education, as well as in the state attorney general’s office, according to numerous sources interviewed for this story.
“(The budget) comes across draconian because if a teacher violates it, they can be hauled in front of the state board and lose their license over a law that is confusing to say the least,” said Oyster River Superintendent James Morse, a former member of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion. Morse was among 10 members who recently resigned from the council in protest over the “divisive concepts.”
“It’s a fundamental affront to academic freedom in teaching in terms of teachers making decisions on how they apply the curriculum set by the school board,” he continued.
Morse said the budget language is “an intrusion into local education matters,” where school boards set their districts’ curriculums, such as teaching American history and including “racist elements” that plague the nation’s past and present.
Megan Tuttle, president of National Education Association of New Hampshire, said the budget allows potential bad-faith complaints to the Department of Education or attorney general that could put teachers’ “livelihoods at risk.” She did not rule out the possibility of mounting a legal challenge on behalf of member teachers.
“What educators are trying to do is be honest in education, but because our profession has been politicized to this point, it’s concerning to say the least,” Tuttle said. “History always has different views, but the historical facts don’t change. (Teaching history) now runs the risk of losing the critical thinking piece if we are unable to teach history in its truest form.”
Bissonnette said educators and other public employees will be inclined to “self-censor” and not engage on topics of race, “out of fear of being the subject of a complaint.”
“This is the real danger of the bill and it may very well be the point of it – namely, to cause people to censor themselves in having important conversations on race,” Bissonnette said.
Opinion: Attacks on race education are attacks on spiritual and democratic growth
Ben Vihstadt, spokesperson for Sununu, said the purpose of the language is to give parents greater ability to report cases of discrimination against their child to the state. He reiterated the term “divisive concepts” does not appear anywhere in the budget language.
“The governor has always acknowledged that elements of racism exist in our communities,” Vihstadt said. “Nothing in this budget prevents schools from teaching any aspect of American history, such as teaching about racism, sexism, slavery, or implicit bias, as long as those discussions are done without prejudice or discrimination against any student.”
Republican state Sen. Jeb Bradley, the Senate majority leader, amended the original “divisive concepts” language contained in House Bill 544 to make it more palatable to the Senate and governor in the state budget. He pointed to the amended legislation’s specific language stating the provisions of the budget are, “not to be construed” as prohibiting academic discussion and exploration on historic and present issues of race and discrimination.
“The legislation is crystal clear,” Bradley said. “People are trying to create an alternate narrative that this is censorship, that it tries to discourage conversations of past racism, current racism or prohibit anti-bias training. It does none of that, and anyone making those assertions either hasn’t read the legislation or is willfully misrepresenting it.”
The notion of divisive concepts was introduced by New Hampshire House Republicans in House Bill 544, which defined as divisive assertions that New Hampshire or the United States were “fundamentally racist or sexist” or that “by virtue of his or her race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others.”
Shouting matches and fed up parents: How school board meetings became ground zero in politics
The bill, originally touted by House Republicans, prohibited the propagation by public employees, private businesses and current and prospective state contractors of these so-called divisive concepts, including, “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” and “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”
House Bill 544 was tabled in the current legislative session. However, members of the the governor’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, the Manchester chapter of the NAACP and the state teacher’s union believe many similar themes from HB 544 found their way into HB2, the state budget.
“The language of this bill is scary, it’s scary for educators, public employees; all of us who want to have, who need to have, deep conversations about the issues really affecting New Hampshire,” said state Rep. Jim Maggiore, D, who resigned in protest from the governor’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion. “We’re not just talking about race, ability, gender and sexual orientation; it’s everything that touches our lives. (With this budget), what we’ve said is we’re going to put a gag order, and put up a time limit on history, and only talk about a historical context that is undefined.”
Sununu previously said the diversity council was entering a “transition period.” He accused the ACLU of “trying to insert politics” into the council’s work. ACLU-NH Executive Director Devon Chaffee has said publicly the mass resignation was started by others.
Sen. Bradley, a Republican, introduced the amended language in the budget to the Senate. He said the new language serves only to enhance the state’s existing anti-discrimination law. The language in the budget now only applies to public employees, such as state workers, educators and law enforcement officers after numerous private businesses came out against HB 544.
Bradley points to language that states the budget, “declares that practices of discrimination against any New Hampshire inhabitants because of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin are a matter of state concern, that discrimination based on these characteristics not only threatens the rights and proper privileges of New Hampshire inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state.”“The budget strengthens anti-discrimination laws, it’s a very different approach than HB 544,” Bradley said.
The state budget also contains language stating educators cannot teach, “That people of one age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin cannot and should not attempt to treat others equally and/or without regard to age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin,” in part. It also allows public employees to opt out of any trainings where these components would be purportedly taught without fear of being disciplined.
Teaching CRT at West Point: Gen. Mark Milley fires back against GOP criticism of critical race theory
Opponents of the budget language say these components make the entire section of it contradictory. They believe the budget language was construed in a similar vein to legislation adopted in other states that have recently passed provisions against teaching public school students so-called critical race theory, a law school theory examining how racism is institutionalized in American law.
Superintendent Morse of Oyster River rejected the notion that critical race theory is being taught in any of the state’s public school districts. He said he believes this language in the budget will be ultimately litigated in court.
“It’s a collegiate legal theory that has nothing to do with K through 12 education. We’ve been teaching diversity and equity in our curriculum for at least five years,” Morse said. “Do we want to live in a world where we don’t address the significant social issues of the day where there are all kinds of examples of racism, sexual bias and gender discrimination happening?”
Critical race theory being taught in schools is the most recent conversation that is causing a divide among parents, administrators and government officials. These discussions have been a part of state legislation deciding whether it was fit for K-12 grade levels.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has called critical race theory the practice of “teaching kids to hate their country and hate each other.” Guidelines considered by the Board of Education prohibits teachers from expressing their personal views.
Similarly a dozen or so states — including Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and West Virginia – have introduced bills that would prohibit schools from teaching “divisive,” “racist” or “sexist” concepts.
Vihstadt, Sununu’s spokesperson, said the governor would have preferred not to have language around so-called divisive concepts included in the budget, but did not want to veto the entire budget over its inclusion.
“The governor believes that it should have been taken up as a standalone bill, but he chose not to veto an entire state budget and risk shutting down government because this was the route the legislature chose to take,” Vihastadt said.
New guidelines: Florida restricts how US history is taught, seen as a way to get critical race theory out of classroom
Related story: Teaching kids to hate America? Republicans want ‘critical race theory’ out of schools
Numerous stakeholders aren’t buying what Bradley and Sununu are selling in the way they portray the language of the law.
JerriAnne Boggis, executive director of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, said the budget is an “affront to democratic values.”
“The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire is displeased by the passing of a state budget and bill that impedes the ability for New Hampshire’s citizens to engage in open and honest conversations about racism and other forms of systemic oppression,” Boggis said in a statement. “It silences the voices of many people in our state, banning from public schools and state agencies specific types of conversations about histories of inequality and their continuing legacy. This is a step backwards, not a step forward.”
James McKim, president of the Manchester NAACP, called the inclusion of “non-fiscal items” such as the modified divisive concepts language, the abortion ban after 24 weeks and school voucher program, “disturbing, surprising and disappointing.”
He said the budget language makes New Hampshire “unwelcoming” for young people looking to start their careers here, especially younger people of color, for a state with one of the oldest populations in the country.
“We really need to continue the dialogue if we are to get past the divisions we face in our country today,” McKim said. “Having these honest conversations will not deepen our divisions, it will only help heal them.”
Contributing: Emily Bloch and Alia Wong.
This post originally posted here usnews
Stonewall, a charity founded in 1989 that fights for LGBTQ-inclusive education, has urged educators to ditch gendered language in the classroom. In guidance documents shared by the charity, school staff are encouraged to teach primary school children to use the pronoun “they/them”.
The documents said: “It is unnecessary to say ‘boys and girls’ when referring to learners of all genders, you could instead say ‘learners’.”
Schools have also been urged to check and update their policies.
The charity urged schools to remove “unnecessarily gendered language”.
“Instead of using ‘he’/’she’, you could use ‘they’,” the charity guidance said.
The charity is also championing for schools to ditch policies on gendered uniforms and allow children to compete in mixed-sex sports.
British educational institutions have the opportunity to become a member of the Stonewall School & College Champion schools by paying a yearly fee which can be as much as £800 plus VAT for institutions with over 2,000 pupils.
Once accepted, champion schools can apply for a bronze, silver or gold award to show they are following the “best practice” for inclusive education.
Stonewall advises school staff that they should: “Avoid dividing learners by gender, whether in the classroom (you could divide them by their favourite colour, month of birth or something else) or through uniform, sports activities or other aspects of school life.”
A Stonewall spokesperson said they were “very proud of all of our work supporting schools to create supportive and inclusive environments which help everyone feel accepted for who they are”.
They added that the advice given to schools is “robust” and “in line with the Department for Education’s guidance for schools in England, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Equality Act Code of Practice”.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed
Randi Weingarten, president of the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union, called on Thursday for a full reopening of the nation’s schools for the next academic year, saying: “There is no doubt: Schools must be open. In person. Five days a week.”
Her remarks come with about half of the nation’s public schools not offering five days per week of in-person learning to all students and with many families uncertain about whether they will have the option for a more traditional schedule in the fall.
Teachers’ unions have been one key barrier to a broader opening this school year, accused of slowing reopening timelines as they sought strict virus mitigation measures, even after teachers began to be vaccinated in large numbers.
“It’s not risk-free,” said Ms. Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which has 1.7 million members. She argued that the health risks could be managed through a range of practices — some of them relatively simple, such as masking and handwashing, and some of them more difficult to achieve at scale, such as decreasing class sizes to maintain distance and procuring additional spaces to meet outside cramped school buildings.
“The United States will not be fully back until we are fully back in school. And my union is all in,” Ms. Weingarten, a close ally of President Biden, said, pledging to commit $ 5 million for a campaign in which teachers will host open houses and go door to door to build families’ confidence in returning to school.
But her remarks came on the same day that federal health officials advised that fully vaccinated individuals could stop masking and distancing in most indoor and outdoor settings. The timing seemed to underscore just how cautious schools have been and the pressure they will be under to reopen.
It is not entirely clear how the guidance will apply to schools, since it is not known when vaccines will be approved for students under 12 and what percentage of older students will be vaccinated when schools open in the fall.
Ms. Weingarten’s speech is sure to be greeted skeptically by some parents and school district leaders, who have been frustrated by some local unions’ insistence on two-hour school days — so students will not need to remove masks to eat lunch — or ambitious ventilation system overhauls instead of simpler solutions, such as fans and open windows.
And it is an open question whether the 3,000 local affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers will adopt Ms. Weingarten’s proposal. This winter, she repeatedly said it could be safe for teachers to return to classrooms before vaccination, a position that was a nonstarter for unions in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
In the hours after the speech, union locals in Philadelphia and San Francisco said they were broadly in support of the goal of a full reopening in the fall. But the devil will be in the details negotiated at bargaining tables, where local union leaders may demand additional safety measures as a precondition to a full return.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that what is said from on high has a direct influence on local negotiation,” said Joshua P. Starr, a former superintendent of several large, unionized districts and president of PDK International, a professional organization for educators.
Dr. Starr said he believed that schools should have already opened more fully. Still, “I think it’s really important that she’s saying this,” he said of Ms. Weingarten’s speech.
Some locals have argued that because so many families, particularly Black, Hispanic and Asian families, continue to opt out of in-person learning, returning to classrooms is less important than improving remote learning.
But in her speech, which was delivered remotely via social media, Ms. Weingarten acknowledged that “prolonged isolation is harmful” to students and that online instruction had negatively affected learning. She said that reopening schools increased both teachers’ and parents’ comfort with returning, and that many parents, particularly mothers, were unable to work when school schedules were truncated.
Ms. Weingarten’s new proposal, even if fully adopted by local unions, may not do away with all the barriers to full-time, in-person instruction. Although a vaccine is approved for adolescents 12 and over, she foresees the need to continue to distance students three feet apart, which she said would require some school systems to find additional space outside their buildings.
In an interview, Ms. Weingarten emphasized unknowns about the progression of the pandemic, arguing that mitigation measures would need to continue next school year. That is disputed by some virus experts, who have said it may be possible to do away with masking and distancing in schools in the near future. “We don’t actually know — will adults need a booster shot because of the variants? How many kids will get the vaccines? When will vaccines be available for kids under 12? There are all of these questions,” Ms. Weingarten said, adding, “But these questions can’t stop us from reopening fully.”
The idea of distancing students by using space outside schools was first proposed by virus experts and parent activists last summer, but it presents myriad logistical challenges. Ms. Weingarten said districts could secure extra space with federal stimulus money, and suggested using empty storefronts, empty offices, portable classroom trailers or tents.
On the ground across the country, local unions have substantial autonomy at the bargaining table, and it is unclear what role Ms. Weingarten will play behind closed doors in encouraging them to embrace five days per week of in-person learning. Throughout the pandemic, she has not hesitated to back affiliates that were resisting reopening efforts. In Philadelphia in February, she protested alongside educators demanding ventilation upgrades. She also backed the local in Washington, D.C., when it considered a strike in response to that district’s reopening plan, demanding more building safety checks.
Ms. Weingarten has said that vaccines are the “game changer” to calm these battles. But there will still be significant clashes to come, perhaps most notably on the West Coast, which has lagged behind the rest of the country on reopening, and where unions have been especially restive.
Ms. Weingarten’s speech also called for lower class sizes, which could mean hiring additional educators. That is a perennial priority for teachers’ unions that would make it easier to keep students physically distanced. Smaller classes could also potentially allow teachers to provide more individual support to tens of millions of children who will need to process — academically, socially and emotionally — the fallout from more than a year of a pandemic, an economic crisis and a national reckoning on racism.
The latest on how the pandemic is reshaping education.
Ms. Weingarten said that with 89 percent of her members vaccinated or willing to be, she anticipated fewer teachers needing medical accommodations to work from home next school year. In some cities, the large percentage of teachers who were granted medical accommodations before vaccines were available has meant that students returning to classrooms this spring were asked to log into laptops to interact with educators who were elsewhere, a practice known as “Zoom in a room.”
One educator working that way is Kenzo Shibata, a high school social studies teacher in Chicago. His wife has Stage 4 breast cancer and her immunity is compromised. Both members of the couple have been vaccinated but have been advised by doctors to avoid indoor settings and continue to practice extreme caution as the virus evolves, Mr. Shibata said. He was granted an accommodation to work from home and is unsure whether he will still want to avoid in-person teaching in the fall.
Mr. Shibata said Ms. Weingarten’s speech seemed like “public relations,” and he argued that it was premature to support a full reopening before children of all ages were eligible for vaccines, and before examining virus rates in various locations.
“It really should be about looking at the local communities,” he said, instead of making a “blanket declaration.”
Ms. Weingarten’s speech proposed a number of ideas for helping children to recover from the pandemic, such as summer school, tutoring, longer school days, hiring additional mental health professionals, diversifying the teacher force and enriching the curriculum with subjects like science and civics.
The debate over reopening schools has been toxic in many communities, pitting some parents and educators against one another. It has also highlighted the fact that while white and affluent parents often see public schools as a safe haven for their children, other families are less eager to entrust their children to schools during a health crisis.
Jennifer Noonan, an Oregon parent of four children whose schools are operating part time, has been a critic of the unions and an activist in the movement to reopen schools. After reaching out to Ms. Weingarten via Twitter, she participated in an online meeting in which the union president met with frustrated parents to hear their concerns.
“I would’ve liked to see this sooner. But I’m optimistic,” Ms. Noonan said. She gave Ms. Weingarten credit for “viewing parent groups as equal stakeholders in the same regard that teachers’ unions are held.”
Author: Dana Goldstein
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News
Co-founder Leila Centner told employees in a letter last week that she made the policy decision with a “very heavy heart.” Centner asked those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine to wait until the end of the school year, and even then recommended holding off.
Centner stood by the decision Tuesday in a statement sent to The Associated Press, which featured the biologically impossible claim that unvaccinated women have experienced miscarriages and other reproductive problems just by standing in proximity to vaccinated people.
“You can’t pass it from one person to another if you stand next to someone,” said Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, an NYU Langone gynecologist. “That’s a very horrible misconception because it opens up this crazy thinking that you can stand next to people and get what they have, which we know historically has in public health really created a lot of damage.”
The Florida Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the school’s stance on the COVID-19 vaccine.
MORE | Experts dispel myths about the COVID-19 vaccineThe Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and leading women’s health authorities have declared the COVID-19 vaccines being used in the U.S. to be safe and effective, and they are undergoing unprecedented scrutiny for safety. Around the country, teachers were prioritized for early access to the vaccines to protect them from exposure to the coronavirus as schools reopened.
Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease specialist with Florida International University’s Wertheim College of Medicine, said there is no evidence that unvaccinated people face any risks from the vaccinations of others.
Centner and her husband David Centner started the school in 2019 after moving to Miami from New York. The school’s website promotes “medical freedom” from vaccines and offers to help parents opt out of vaccines that are otherwise required for students in Florida.
Earlier this month, Centner criticized measures by the CDC to curb the spread of the virus, and said her school went against the guidelines from the moment it reopened in September.”We did not follow any of the tyrannic measures that were in place. I did not force our kids to wear a mask,” Centner said while attending a “Health and Freedom” rally for a Republican candidate that featured supporters of former President Donald Trump and critics of public health restrictions in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed
Author: Dan Keane
This post originally appeared on Breaking UK news and exclusives | The Sun
HERO teachers rushed to give CPR to a 13-year-old boy stabbed on his way to school during a gang attack that left him fighting for his life.
The youngster, who was in school uniform, was knifed by teens as he walked to class on the Isle of Dogs in East London.
Witnesses said teachers from nearby George Green’s School on Parsonage Street dashed outside to help the lad after the knifing at 8.50am.
And witnesses said it looked like his attackers “were having fun” as the horror unfolded.
The boy was taken to a hospital in East London after sustaining multiple stab wounds. He remains in a critical condition.
A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm.
He’s been taken to a police station in East London.
Cops are liaising with staff at George Green School, according to the Met Police.
According to residents, brave teachers rushed to the scene and gave the boy CPR after he was repeatedly stabbed near the school gates.
Parsonage Street remains cordoned off by police with a forensic team still conducting a fingertip search.
Retired mechanical engineer Ron Goddard, 60, said: “I looked out the window and saw two boys running away.
“I thought they were having a bit of fun. They looked like they were having fun.
“I didn’t think anything of it until a helicopter landed in the park and the Old Bill came round.
“The boys just ran round the corner. They were about 13-years-old.
“I don’t think they were in school uniform. It was coats and light coloured trousers or jogging bottoms.”
He added: “There’s always been trouble around here. It’s not abnormal.
“The age groups are getting a bit younger, it’s obviously a lack of discipline at school.
“I’m not overly shocked because of the news all the time. It was bound to happen here eventually.”
Another neighbour, who declined to be named, said: “I saw two boys running down the road, but nothing more than that.
“They didn’t look like they were wearing school uniform or anything like that, just casual stuff. They looked young – early to mid teens.
“I didn’t think anything of it until the helicopter touched down in the park – that was a bit of a surprise.
“It’s heartbreaking, but it’s not surprising. You’ve just got to hope the little boy is okay.”
A nearby neighbour to the scene said she had heard from a friend who lives on Parsonage Street that teachers rushed from George Green’s School to aid the boy.
The woman, who declined to be named, said: “I heard from someone on the street that they saw teachers trying to help the kid. One was giving him CPR.
“I think they got some response, but obviously there wasn’t much they could do until paramedics arrived.”
A spokesperson for the school this afternoon confirmed to MyLondon that the victim was a student.
Meanwhile, a schoolbag was also seen by witnesses on the pavement – with forensic officers closely examining the item this morning.
An air ambulance landed at nearby Millwall Park supporting ambulance services sent by road.
It comes after a spate of stabbings in London this year.
Junior Jah, 18, was found knifed to death near his home in Canning Town, East London, on Monday afternoon. There is no suggestion that it is linked to today’s incident.
Junior was the 12th teenager stabbed to death in London in 2021 – just five less than there were in the whole of 2020.
So far this year there has been 32 murder investigations launched in London, and of those, 25 have been stabbings.
Junior was attacked just minutes away from where Fares Maatou, 14, was stabbed in the head outside a pizza restaurant while defending his friend last week.
Referencing today’s incident, a Met Police spokesperson said: “Police were called by the London Ambulance Service at 8.50am on Thursday, April 29 to reports of a stabbing on Parsonage Street, E14.
“Officers and London’s Air Ambulance attended. A 13-year-old boy was found suffering from stab injuries.
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“He has been taken to an East London hospital; we await an update on his condition.
“At this early stage, there have been no arrests. A crime scene remains in place.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact police via 101 quoting reference Cad 1321/29Apr.”
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed
Police have arrested a man who attacked the victims in Beiliu City, in south China’s Guangxi region this afternoon. Footage shared on social media show the suspect being detained and taken into custody by police.
Two of the children were seriously injured in the attack, state-run Xinhua news agency said.
A suspect was arrested by police, Xinhua added.
All those injured have been rushed to hospital, according to state-run China Global Television Network.
More to follow…
Author: Patricia Mazzei
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News
A private school in the fashionable Design District of Miami sent its faculty and staff a letter last week about getting vaccinated against Covid-19. But unlike institutions that have encouraged and even facilitated vaccination for teachers, the school, Centner Academy, did the opposite: One of its co-founders, Leila Centner, informed employees “with a very heavy heart” that if they chose to get a shot, they would have to stay away from students.
In an example of how misinformation threatens the nation’s effort to vaccinate enough Americans to get the coronavirus under control, Ms. Centner, who has frequently shared anti-vaccine posts on Facebook, claimed in the letter that “reports have surfaced recently of non-vaccinated people being negatively impacted by interacting with people who have been vaccinated.”
“Even among our own population, we have at least three women with menstrual cycles impacted after having spent time with a vaccinated person,” she wrote, repeating a false claim that vaccinated people can somehow pass the vaccine to others and thereby affect their reproductive systems. (They can do neither.)
In the letter, Ms. Centner gave employees three options:
Inform the school if they had already been vaccinated, so they could be kept physically distanced from students;
Let the school know if they get the vaccine before the end of the school year, “as we cannot allow recently vaccinated people to be near our students until more information is known”;
Wait until the school year is over to get vaccinated.
Teachers who get the vaccine over the summer will not be allowed to return, the letter said, until clinical trials on the vaccine are completed, and then only “if a position is still available at that time” — effectively making teachers’ employment contingent on avoiding the vaccine.
Ms. Centner required the faculty and staff to fill out a “confidential” form revealing whether they had received a vaccine — and if so, which one and how many doses — or planned to get vaccinated. The form requires employees to “acknowledge the School will take legal measures needed to protect the students if it is determined that I have not answered these questions accurately.”
Ms. Centner directed questions about the matter to her publicist, who said in a statement that the school’s top priority throughout the pandemic has been to keep students safe. The statement repeated false claims that vaccinated people “may be transmitting something from their bodies” leading to adverse reproductive issues among women.
“We are not 100 percent sure the Covid injections are safe and there are too many unknown variables for us to feel comfortable at this current time,” the statement said.
The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and many other authorities have concluded that the coronavirus vaccines now in emergency use in the United States are safe and effective.
The Centner Academy opened in 2019 for students in prekindergarten through eighth grade, promoting itself as a “happiness school” focused on children’s mindfulness and emotional intelligence. The school prominently advertises on its website support for “medical freedom from mandated vaccines.”
Ms. Centner founded the school with her husband, David Centner, a technology and electronic highway tolling entrepreneur. Each has donated heavily to the Republican Party and the Trump re-election campaign, while giving much smaller sums to local Democrats.
In February, the Centners welcomed a special guest to speak to students: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the prominent antivaccine activist. (Mr. Kennedy was suspended from Instagram a few days later for promoting Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.) This month, the school hosted a Zoom talk with Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, a New York pediatrician frequently cited by anti-vaccination activists.
Kitty Bennett contributed research.