Connecticut elementary teacher says she resigned over curriculum focus on race

Connecticut elementary teacher says she resigned over curriculum focus on race
·3 min read

A Connecticut elementary school teacher said she resigned in July after the school made race a central part of the children's curriculum.

Jennifer Tafuto said she had been an elementary school teacher for six years before she "respectfully resigned" in protest of the district's desire to focus on skin color.

"I felt that the curriculum was really pitting students against each other based on the color of their skin," Tafuto told the Washington Examiner. "It made them think that the color of their skin was more important than who they were as a person. It was really politicized and racialized for such a young group."

Tafuto said she felt most of the topics the district wanted her to teach were above the comprehension of her second graders. One example was a focus on the skin color of a character in a book. The children were not thinking about race, rather the color of the shirt or the expression on the characters' faces, she said.


According to Tafuto, the school did not only focus on children and race but also wanted to add race into every aspect of the teachers' lives through equity training.

In instructions for "Daily Racial Reflection Timeline," obtained by Fox News from Tafuto, the teachers were expected to complete a reflection of race in each aspect of their daily routine. They were expected to create a timeline of their day-to-day activities, after which they would consider the racial implications. Additionally, they had guidelines for how a white person was supposed to think about the actions versus a person of color.

An example of this centers on doing yoga and meditation before leaving the house in the morning. A person of color was instructed to think about yoga as a way to prepare themselves for a "racially hurtful" environment, according to the document.

"This is really important to center myself and get ready for an environment that is racially hurtful while being oblivious to how racially hurtful they are," the guidelines said. "This morning ritual gives me strength and when I skip it, my days are more challenging."

The same document said a white person should be concerned about whether they culturally appropriated Indian culture when doing yoga and meditation.

Fox News reported the school district, Manchester Public Schools, confirmed the document's authenticity on Monday. The Washington Examiner also reached out to the district for comment.

Tafuto said she understood talking about race in a classroom but felt the current conversation was doing more harm to the children than good.

"I think that equity as a concept is extremely important," she said. "As teachers, we should encourage our students to get along regardless of skin color. But I think that it's important to talk about race in terms of kindness. I felt that this work was potentially harmful to my students, particularly my students of color, and setting them up to believe that they're victims ... I think Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he said we should judge each other based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin."


Tafuto encouraged other teachers to stand up if they feel the same way she does.

"I've gotten a lot of supportive messages from teachers still within the districts that I taught in saying that they wish they could speak up," Tafuto said. "They're scared of losing their jobs, they're scared of getting reprimanded and being labeled, but I think that they owe it to their students, just like I feel like I owed it to my students to have said something about this."

As the debate surrounding race in schools polarizes the country, a new study by the Walton Family Foundation found an increase in parents pulling their children from public schools, either enrolling them in private schools or homeschooling them.

Tafuto said she is passionate about working in education but is actively seeking other possible career opportunities.

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Tags: News, Critical Race Theory, Race, Public Schools, Education

Original Author: Misty Severi

Original Location: Connecticut elementary teacher says she resigned over curriculum focus on race

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