The Smithtown, New York school district will restrict the use of 34 BrainPop instructional videos in classrooms because they introduce topics like Black Lives Matter and human sexuality. The restriction is in response to a couple that complained at the district July school board meeting that the videos are biased against conservatives and “no more than a call for revolution, for our young people to protest." A BrainPop spokesperson responded via email that "We created the video on the Black Lives Matter protests to provide parents and educators a resource for explaining the protests and movement in kid-friendly terms. The video, which features a cartoon robot named Moby, “doesn’t call for or encourage a revolution." BrainPop videos discuss over a thousand topics in math, science, social studies and English. They are used in almost three-quarters of United States school districts. Not coincidently, complaints against BrainPop were also made at a July school board meeting in the Three Village school district. A speaker charged that BrainPop videos had "BLM all over it, along with Pride and videos that say if you're white, you're basically an oppressor." You can watch the nine-minute BrainPop “offending” Black Lives Matter video on Youtube.
In the 2020 Presidential election, Donald Trump carried every Election District in Smithtown, New York, some by over 30 percentage points, earning Smithtown the title Trumptown, New York. Smithtown also returned Lee Zeldin to Congress. Zeldin, one of the most rightwing Republicans in the House of Representatives, voted against establishing up a commission to investigate what happened in Washington DC on January 6, supported Trump claims that the election was somehow stolen from him, and asked the Supreme Court to overturn the result.
In May, Smithtown voters elected three rightwing candidates affiliated with the pro-Trump group Long Island Loud Majority. While it is not clear whether the group represents a majority of Long Island residents, it is definitely LOUD at disrupting school board meetings where they attack staff and student speakers. They have also been accused of propagating anti-Semitic tropes. During the school board campaign, the group circulated a newsletter attempting to connect opposition school board candidates with George Soros, a progressive and a Jew who has been targeted by anti-Semitic forces in Europe.
The Smithtown campaign against Black Lives Matter and diversity efforts first drew public attention in January when “parents” complained about the speaker at the district’s Family Literacy Night. Broadway actress Diamond Essence White read a children's book called "Not Quite Snow White." White, who is Black, is an outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter. Smithtown Superintendent Mark Secaur apologized to protesting “parents” for the invitation to a “polarizing” personality.
After the Long Island Loud Majority backed candidates were elected to the school board, the district's assistant superintendent for instruction and administration who guided its diversity and equity efforts as a member of the district’s Equity Team, resigned. She had been criticized by “parents” and Long Island Loud Majority, who argued that diversity and equity were really a subterfuge effort to promote Critical Race Theory.
The push to takeover local school boards in part of a long-term strategy of the rightwing group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to reshape American education and society by taking control over local governing bodies. Opposition to Critical Race Theory has replaced opposition to the 1619 Project as the main mobilizing point for conservative forces across the United States. In response, the assault on CRT and the 1619 Project, the Zinn Education Project is organizing teachers to pledge to Teach the Truth and participate in Days of Action. They also provide sample lessons. Unfortunately, in Trumptown, Long Island and Trumpvilles across the country, school boards and frightened administrators do not want teachers to Teach the Truth.
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