Recently, I wrote an article about creating an “Army of Davids” made up of students who are armed with recording devices. The goal would be to catch Marxist teachers abusing their authority, like the famous case in Utah where a teacher called parents “dumb” and threatened her students on camera. Now comes a story out of Manhattan, Illinois, where the school district issued what looks like a gag order on parents, barring them from recording, sharing, or even talking about what happens in their students’ Zoom class if their student should be quarantined. Dan Proft of AM 560 The Answer in Chicago had the scoop.
Manhattan SD 114 (Will County, IL). Zoom learning is available for quarantined kids if and only if parents agree not to share the Zoom session and not to comment on the lesson or teacher on social media.
Is this gag order one you would sign? pic.twitter.com/w21EWsgzjl
— Dan Proft (@DanProft) September 1, 2021
The document states in part:
“It is imperative that parents/guardians do not post recordings of live streamed lessons on social media, or comment on lessons or teachers on social media…families that violate this expectation will be contacted by the building or district administrator to discuss the situation and will have their childrens’ Zoom privileges revoked for the rest of the year.”
PJ Media contacted Superintendent Russel Ragon of District 114 about this document. Ragon acknowledged that the wording may be overly harsh and said he understands the concerns. He assured parents that the document, despite its severe language, is “not meant to be punitive.”
“It’s one of those things that if our parents were not supportive of that, then we may have to look at a different option and providing a different option for remote learning for students who are quarantining…. We will have to go day by day to see how it goes,” he said.
Ragon said that the teachers’ union and teachers had deep concerns about parents recording them in class. “I can understand how the wording is and I will get with my curriculum director to see if we can correct that wording a little bit and make it really clear….We’re not trying to limit anyone’s First Amendment rights,” he said.
Ragon said that only two parents have complained about the agreement and that he was unaware that it had made the news. PJ Media asked Ragon if he was aware of the political indoctrination that students have been uncovering through viral videos in many parts of the country. “I’ve seen [some of those videos],” he said. “Maybe I’m a little naive in regards to thinking that we live here in Manhattan, Illinois, and our community is a tight-knit community. I realize we could have those issue,. but we’ve had very little experience with that.”
Ragon said that when questions surface, his district takes them very seriously and reviews them immediately. “We don’t want anybody indoctrinating our students, trying to sway students. It’s a presentation of facts and material and we are trying to educate our students, and between the parents and the students, as they mature and grow older they can make their own decisions and choices.”
“We have put families first and listened to families’ concerns,” he continued. “We have always taken the stance to let families make the choice for what’s best for their students and their children.”
“So, yeah, I can see where some families would be concerned with that, without a doubt,” he said. The full interview with Ragon is below.
This story is a good example of how parental pressure and social media pressure can hold public institutions accountable and support the Constitutional rights of Americans. Ragon’s willingness to talk to the media is unusual. In most cases, school administration officials clam up when media calls, but in this case, Ragon showed a willingness to be transparent. He is very open to working with parents who are concerned with the document.
PJ Media will update the story if and when the district issues a new directive.