The following letter was sent by the Haddonfield School District on September 8.
To all HSD parents and staff:
This morning we became aware that some community members handed out printed materials to our parents as they took their children to school. The opinions expressed by this anonymous group contained numerous inaccuracies related to health, SEL (socio-emotional learning) and CRT (critical race theory) as they allegedly exist in our programs.
After reading the materials, we felt it necessary to respond to the larger Haddonfield School District family and review the facts with you as shared at recent board meetings and on our website.
First, we want to make it clear that the material in question was intentionally misleading and inflammatory. We are particularly distressed that false information is deliberately shared for the sole purpose of sowing doubt and fear. We are open to opposing points of view, but we reject inaccuracies.
Second, the district has been 100% transparent about updates and changes to district curriculum and will continue to be. Our board and administration have made many presentations on our curricular updates over time. Parents can review district programs on our website here. Over the summer, we created a separate website to help explain the updates offered for health and physical education course. ALL Board presentations are posted here.
Third, statements made in this document about the health agenda as it applies to human sexuality are simply inaccurate. The the current program is available online here.
Fourth, Haddonfield School District does not teach CRT. We continue to teach fair and accurate representation of history, as we have done in the past.
Fifth, SEL lessons are based on the RULER frame. We believe the school community strongly supports lessons that help our students and staff Rrecognize, youto understand, LAbel, Express, and Rregulate their emotions. District goals currently under review by the Board of Education state that we will aim to improve feelings of Membership and Engagement and a healthy school climate. Parents can review RULE lessons on our curriculum website.
In addition to the RULER lessons, here are the skills we strive to incorporate into programming, 1) setting goals and working towards them; 2) approach challenges in a positive and optimistic way; 3) believe in yourself and your abilities; 4) navigate social situations; 5) respond ethically; 6) be an active and informed citizen; 7) understanding, expressing and regulating emotions; 8) advocate for others; and 9) understanding the feelings of others. We have adopted practices such as “morning meetings” to build students’ sense of belonging and trust. We are not replacing parents as primary teachers.
Sixth, the district supports the work done by the Equity Council which is committed to “diversity, equity and justice work”.e. » This group includes parents, teachers, staff, and board members, but is not “committed to reviewing and changing all aspects of the district’s curriculum at each grade level. to fit it into their program,” as erroneously stated in the docs. Parents can view information about the Equity Council’s founding, bylaws, and various prepresentations on our website under DISTRICT.
Seventh, statements made about the book “George” have been exaggerated, distorted and taken out of context. Although the book is not part of any school’s curriculum, we are proud to make it available to support any student who has questions about their identity. You can see a summary of the level of reading, as well as awards and professional reviews of “George” here. We strongly believe that we should provide books to all of our students, including our LGBTQIA+ students.
Eighth, the “opt-out” form included in today’s document is not legitimate and will not be usable in our district. School Board Policy 5250: Exemption from class or program and School Board Policy 2422: Comprehensive Health and Physical Education outlines the process for requesting an apology.
Finally, and quite simply, we have the best teachers and staff. They are highly skilled, intelligent, thoughtful and caring professional educators. Our teachers and staff support ALL students. They are guided by state standards, but they determine how information is conveyed. We believe that the majority of families in our district are equally confident that Haddonfield teachers approach all interactions in an age-appropriate and effective manner.
… and THANK YOU TO OUR PARENTS
We received various messages of support from many parents today.
We thank you for your kind words and for acknowledging the intent of these distributions.
We know that you will continue to support our faculty and staff and speak up when misleading information is released.
We are aware that some of you were upset this morning and have asked our administrators to actively remedy the situation. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to ask people to move away from sidewalks adjacent to our school buildings.
We strongly encourage parents to attend board meetings in person or watch from home to follow our presentations and stay up to date on district initiatives.
Charles Klaus, Superintendent of Schools
Jaime Grookett, School Board Chair
Gerry Bissinger, President of the Haddonfield Association of School Administrators
Rachel Gould, co-chair of the Haddonfield Education Association
Sean Sweeney, co-chair of the Haddonfield Education Association