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NH educators blast state website for reporting complaints

Some New Hampshire educators are calling a new state website intended to take complaints about teachers who might run afoul of a new anti-discrimination law a bounty system.The website invites complaints against teachers who are perceived to be violating a new law Republicans passes in an attempt to ban from the classroom, among other things, teaching that systemic racism is pervasive in America.”It’s absurd. The fact that this webpage actually had to be launched is just ridiculous,” said Megan Tuttle, president of the National Education Association of New Hampshire. “It’s trying to catch teachers in the act of doing something they’re not doing across New Hampshire.”Tuttle said she believes the website is designed as a Big Brother-like threat warning teachers not to talk or teach about issues of race or racism. But Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said that kind of teaching is expressly protected in the attorney general’s guidance for the new law.”It specifically says it’s OK to teach about slavery and Jim Crow and all of these difficult subjects, because we want our students to know about these difficult subjects, but we also want to make sure individuals are not discriminated against,” Edelblut said.Complaints about teachers will go to New Hampshire’s Commission for Human Rights, where Executive Director Ahni Malachi said any attempts to use the process as a witch hunt will be dealt with.”I can understand their concerns,” she said. “From this perch, it would be disappointing if people decide to do a witch hunt or to try to trap a teacher. That’s not what the commission is here to do.”Another guardrail is that a charge signed by a complainant moves forward under penalty of perjury. But educators contend the damage to their profession is already being done.”It’s going to have such a chilling effect, which is the whole goal of this law to begin with,” said Carl Ladd, of the New Hampshire School Administrators’ Association.

Some New Hampshire educators are calling a new state website intended to take complaints about teachers who might run afoul of a new anti-discrimination law a bounty system.

The website invites complaints against teachers who are perceived to be violating a new law Republicans passes in an attempt to ban from the classroom, among other things, teaching that systemic racism is pervasive in America.

“It’s absurd. The fact that this webpage actually had to be launched is just ridiculous,” said Megan Tuttle, president of the National Education Association of New Hampshire. “It’s trying to catch teachers in the act of doing something they’re not doing across New Hampshire.”

Tuttle said she believes the website is designed as a Big Brother-like threat warning teachers not to talk or teach about issues of race or racism. But Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said that kind of teaching is expressly protected in the attorney general’s guidance for the new law.

“It specifically says it’s OK to teach about slavery and Jim Crow and all of these difficult subjects, because we want our students to know about these difficult subjects, but we also want to make sure individuals are not discriminated against,” Edelblut said.

Complaints about teachers will go to New Hampshire’s Commission for Human Rights, where Executive Director Ahni Malachi said any attempts to use the process as a witch hunt will be dealt with.

“I can understand their concerns,” she said. “From this perch, it would be disappointing if people decide to do a witch hunt or to try to trap a teacher. That’s not what the commission is here to do.”

Another guardrail is that a charge signed by a complainant moves forward under penalty of perjury. But educators contend the damage to their profession is already being done.

“It’s going to have such a chilling effect, which is the whole goal of this law to begin with,” said Carl Ladd, of the New Hampshire School Administrators’ Association.

https://www.wmur.com/article/new-hampshire-educators-website-complaints-teachers/38283518