Board of Trustees:
Student organized walkout in support of my son at the school 4/26/19 at 3:00pm -Instagram – @therealcheshireacademy students told they will be punished for leaving class
Thank you very much for all of your comments and personal stories. Please feel free to contact the school as to all of your thoughts and frustrations over this situation: Head of School – firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: NEW HAVEN REGISTER – https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Cheshire-Academy-being-sued-for-expelling-student-13779436.php
UPDATE: CT LAW TRIBUNE – http://www.law.com/ctlawtribune/
UPDATE: KICKED OUT OF SCHOOL AS OF TODAY 4/16/19 FOR THE TRUTHS TOLD IN THIS BLOG!!!
What Began With Elation
Back in July 2018 my son was recruited to attend and play football at Cheshire Academy (10 Main Street, Cheshire, CT). My son considered it an honor to be recruited for such a prestigious football program and was excited to reap the benefits of a private school education. As advertised, to be in a place “that puts the unique needs of every student first.”
To use my sons own words, “The most enticing attribute of this school is the promise of fairness and open mindedness of everyone’s beliefs and opinions. No longer would it be a constant battle versus censorship and persecution faced in public school. I will be in an environment of civility and respect. One where citizenship, playing by the rules and fairness to all is what matters regardless of political or social beliefs.”
During our initial interviews and tour at Cheshire Academy, review of their website, and reading through all of the material provided us by the academy we were led to believe that these were the values that guided this institution… values that it held dear.
BOY WERE WE SURPRISED!!!
First let’s start with my son’s Dean who is the lead in his discipline. This is a profile picture that was taken from the Facebook page of the Dean.
The First Offense
Setting: English class discussing the comedy Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Offense: During the class discussion the premise was that in talking about the character Viola, who cross dresses as a male (Cesario), and that Shakespeare was trying to portray transgenderism in a positive light. My son brought up the point that during the time the book was written (1601-1602) his society would never partake in that sociopathic act. He was then asked to elaborate by the teacher and said “One trait of a Sociopath is to try and normalize an abnormal behavior. For his example he used Ted Bundy and his normalization of his bloodlust. As was stated in his 1979 interview, “I am not a monster. I am not an animal. I am just a normal man.”
Ted Bundy attempted to normalize his lust for killing, just as members of society today are trying to normalize transgenderism. Using information from the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Maual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association) my son referenced gender identity disorder and how transgenderism is a fabricated condition used to legitamize an otherwise abnormal condition. The teacher continued on by stating that “some people legitimately identify as a man or women or non-binary”. Which my son replied “If a man thinks he is a woman or a woman a man, it shows legitimate hormonal or mental disorder. Although those that identify as things such as Demi-Queer Fox-Kin are just looking for attention.” With that statement two girls who sit in front of my son proceeded to yell in his face and verbally attacking him for HIS OPINION, screaming at him so loudly that he was unable to hear the teacher 10 feet away.
After this class, my son walked with his teacher to the dining hall. As they were walking to the dining hall they had a PRIVATE CONVERSATION (This is the beginning of the conversation that led to Offense #2). My son asked why the girls were screaming at him and his teacher told him that the word queer is interpreted as offensive. My son asked how that could be since it was reclaimed in the early 90’s by the LGBT community with radical anti-assimilation groups such as Queer Nation and is literally part of the acronym (LGBTQ), which she replied that it still might be interpreted as offensive.
Setting: A private conversation walking to the dining hall after class between my son and his English Teacher.
What was said: After the conversation above, my son and his teacher got on the topic of homosexual marriage also prompted by the book (Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare) being read in class. The teacher asked my son his OPINION on the topic and my son replied “Are you sure you want to know?” The teacher told my son yes, she did want to hear HIS THOUGHTS on the subject. So my son told her that he is fine with homosexuals being legally married but is opposed to any church or religious organization performing the ceremonies since it goes against their teachings or dogma. He also stated that whenever you seek to change the norms of a society you have to be very careful to guard against it becoming a “slippery slope”. For example, pedophiles now call themselves MAPS or minor attracted persons and they are using the same steps that gays used in the 70’s-90’s to become normalized. Another example… in Canada, their Supreme Court has already declared most forms of bestiality legal… “A Slippery Slope.”
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THIS IS A PRIVATE CONVERSATION BETWEEN A TEACHER AND STUDENT, WHERE THE TEACHER HAD REQUESTED MULTIPLE TIMES THAT THE STUDENT INFORM HER OF HIS OPINION!!!
Setting: Mandatory Saturday MLK “Critical Thinking” Workshop, where the teacher/instructor stated “anything said in this workshop will not leave the room. It is a safe space to express our ideas.”
This workshop was one of many mandatory workshops that students had to choose from for the day (I believe they had to attend 3-4 workshops). Some of the other mandatory choices on the day were WHITE PRIVILEGE, TOXIC MASCULINITY & SOCIAL JUSTICE AND SPOKEN WORD.
What Was Said: During the “Critical Conversation” workshop the students were formed into a circle and introduced themselves. They were asked to state their names, where they are from, grade, something obvious and something not obvious about themselves. My son, who has been involved in athletics his entire life with hundreds of other kids from every race, creed and color; said “something obvious about me is that I am Black” which as expected got a bunch of laughs from the other students (both black & white). Even with this obvious attempt at humor the teacher running the seminar WHO CLAIMED THIS AS A “SAFE SPACE TO EXPRESS OUR IDEAS” told him he could not say that and reported him for harassment. To add insult to injury during this same critical thinking seminar he was required to fill out a Buzzfeed survey titled “How Privileged Are You?” (Link) https://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/how-privileged-are-you He asked the teacher why this specific offensive criteria (I am White, I am Male, I am Heterosexual, etc.) was relevant and all she did was waive him off and told him to finish the quiz. Finally, towards the end of the mandatory workshop the students began to discuss diversity. My son stated that the same people preaching racial, ethnic and gender diversity are the same people who are against diversity of thought. Other students in attendance agreed with him. This stated opinion elicited another report from the teacher that he was angrily venting and was unruly. Please remember this whole conversation was going on while a MANDATORY WHITE PRIVILEGE WORKSHOP that was sponsored by the school, was also being conducted.
Disciplinary Procedures & Trial
From the Cheshire Academy Handbook, “All disciplinary matters begin by filing out incident reports that not only initiate an investigation but also become part of a students disciplinary file.” Now an incident report filing would incur a notation in the infractions area of the conduct section on the students portal (Please see my sons conduct section of his portal below – 4/10/19)
Due to these aforementioned “Incidents” and irregardless of his clean infraction record, my son was referred for a “Citizenship Committee” hearing which is the Cheshire Academy version of a Disciplinary Committee.
During the Committee hearing my son was informed that he was facing two Category 2 infractions (a category 2 infraction may result in dismissal from the school). The two infractions being:
- 5.1.2 – Harming any Individual
- 5.3.1 – Harassment
During two meetings prior to the citizenship committee meeting and the Citizenship committee meeting itself my son was told the following things:
- This is a Progressive School
- Reality is, thoughts, whether accurate or not may be difficult to hear
- He cannot talk about race, gender or sexuality
- According to the value systems of the school his beliefs are considered an attack
- When you speak, what is meant is irrelevant. It is how it is perceived that matters
- Progressive values are ingrained in the psyche of the school. That’s who we are as a school
- White Privilege and Toxic Masculinity conversations will only increase around school
- When you speak your mind if anyone is offended it is considered harassment
- As soon as what you say has an impact on someone else you have lost your Freedom of Speech
- We have Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Thought but the minute you share that, if people are offended then you are on the hook for an attack
- If you said something people took offense to and they attacked you for it, the burden is on you. You’re not being harassed there. (This was in response to my son asking about the Girls who verbally attacked him in English class. Which, by the way, is a direct Category 2 Infraction and is also covered under the Connecticut Bullying Statutes)
- The bar for offense is much higher for the majority then it is for the minority (This was in answer to when my son asked why it was OK to be offensive to him with the WHITE PRIVILEGE workshop and the Buzzfeed survey but all of his opinions and personal beliefs are labeled as harassment by the school)
- If someone gets so offended and they are screaming at you. You’re the one that needs to have thick enough skin to know you are the one that initiated this. (Again in reference to the two girls who verbally assaulted my son)
- An opinion against any of those groups listed in the handbook is going to be considered offensive (There are no groups listed in the handbook just the boiler plate gender, disability, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, culture, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background)
- Keep your ideas to yourself
So to help break this down for you. Let’s say you are a prospective student, a football recruit looking to attend Cheshire Academy. Let’s also say you believe that a transgender (biological male) should not be allowed to compete against biological females (Which by the way would put you right in line with tennis great and gay activist Martina Navratilova). If you were to say this belief out loud and ANY student was to hear you and complain. You are guilty of harassment. If you were to make the same comment in the middle of the football field and no student hears or complains but a faculty member happens to overhear your comment, then you are guilty of harassment. All of which are considered a Category 2 offense and can lead to you being kicked out of school immediately.
So in the aftermath, even though all my son was looking for was to be treated with the same open mindedness and respect as the protected classes on campus; even though he still is putting in 3 hours/day in preparing for both the upcoming track season and next falls football season; irregardless of the fact that he has multiple letters from faculty and staff commenting on his outstanding citizenship and care he has shown to others in the Cheshire Academy community; or that he reclassified and adjusted all of his college planning to attend this academy; the school gave him the following options as his punishment:
- He can withdraw immediately with no mark on his record; or
- He can serve a 5 day suspension that does go on his record (and based on the reasons for the suspension, he will now be labeled as a bully); be placed on disciplinary probations for the remainder of the year (where the most minor infraction is now cause for immediate dismissal from the school); and no renewal of contract (which means that he cannot come back to school in the fall).
My advice to everyone thinking of attending this institution. Whether you are a rough and tumble football recruit or an academic who believes in diversity of thought and freedom of expression, PLEASE THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT YOUR DECISION! If you do not buy in 100% into the whole identity politics, social justice movement then you will either have to keep your mouth shut, keeping your opinions to yourself, or risk being singled out, persecuted and kicked out for attempting to think freely!!!