School Board’s Rutherford Wants Policy on Political Ideologies

Collier School Board Rutherford Wants Policy on Ideologies

“In the interest of protecting our students from being indoctrinated into the ideologies that are sweeping our country and some schools,” Jerry Rutherford said at the Jul. 31 School Board meeting, “I propose we stand in solidarity against these ideologies” because “it’s saturating our country.”

Collier County School Board
2023/24 Collier County School Board Members

Jerry Rutherford 2023-07-31

Rutherford said that most of the (what he refers to as) ideologies “have their basis in communism, socialism, Marxism, and secular humanism.” And it is the Board’s responsibility to “identify them, where they came from, what their object is, and [how they are financed by others],” he said, because “people need to understand what we’re standing against.”

It was at least the second time since taking office last November that he proposed that the Board adopt a policy about “ideologies” he disagrees with.

Rutherford’s List

At the Jul. 31 meeting, Rutherford distributed the beginnings of what he was proposing for a policy. He wrote:

We, the School Board of Collier County, solely in the interest of protecting our students and District from the harmful effects of the following ideologies, do reject the following as Anti-American, Anti-God ideologies whose net effect is to alter or abolish the Constitution of the United States of America and damage our American Culture.

We, therefore, will identify the ideologies, their origin, their object, and why we reject them.

1 – Critical Race Theory
2 – Social Emotional Learning
3 – DEI – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
4 – BLM Black Lives Matter
5 – Anti-Fa (sic)
6 – Gay Agenda
7 – Woke

At the Aug. 8 meeting, Rutherford raised the matter again and distributed what he called “a brief definition” of the “anti-American and anti-God doctrines” he wants a School Board policy to address. “I would like to see that put on next month’s agenda, please,” he said.

These are some excerpts from the definitions he distributed:

1 – Critical Race Theory: its premise is “that all white people are racist white supremacists, and oppressors of black people. White people should be removed.”

2 – Social Emotional Learning: it is “designed to groom a global workforce.” “SEL is connected with CRT, and with the Resolution at the General Assembly of the United Nations Sept. 19, 2016, related to the ‘2030 Agenda’ for Sustainable Development, with the goal of complete control of society by 2030.”

3 – DEI – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: “These programs tout the values of Tolerance and Inclusion — but in reality serve as racist ideology and promote partisan political action. They are designed to replace the system of academic merit with a system of race-based preferences which are demonstrably discriminatory, and which, in many cases, explicitly violate Federal law.”

“These ideologies are all connected in various ways, and their objective is to change the culture, rewrite the history of America, and, ultimately, to either rewrite or completely discredit the Constitution.”

Read the U.N. Resolution referred to in the definition of Social Emotional Learning here; it is Resolution 71/1 “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.” Read the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development here.

Doing What He Said He Would

Jerry Rutherford Campaign Video
Rutherford Campaign Video

Rutherford clearly stated his views on this and related political and social topics as a candidate for School Board last year, pledging “to be a guardian to the children with regard to the literature and all material they are exposed to at Collier County Schools.” See Collier County School Board elections, Sparker’s Soapbox, 10/16/22.

“Our American culture has been erased from the textbooks and from the classrooms,’ he said in a campaign video.

Rutherford, Moshier, and Lichter were endorsed by the Collier County Republicans and by Alfie Oakes, “one of the most influential Republican figures in the county.”

Lucarelli Disagrees

2023-07-31 - Lucarelli

“I can appreciate and understand what Mr. Rutherford’s thinking is on some of those,” Stephanie Lucarelli said, addressing his concerns. But a policy is not the right response. “We’re never going to be able to imagine all the different things we might face down the road,” she said. “I know we don’t want to be reactionary, but we don’t want to spend a lot of staff time trying to create a policy to address all these things that we’re not even seeing.”

Next Steps

It is possible, if not likely, that Rutherford’s proposal will be discussed at the next School Board meeting on Sep. 11.

Agendas are usually posted a week before the meeting on the CCPS website here. With Labor Day on Sep. 5, start looking for it next Tuesday morning.

Should the School Board adopt the policy that Rutherford suggests? Do you agree with Lucarelli that a policy is not the way to go? Why or why not?

Be sure to let your voice be heard by emailing the five Board members or by attending the Board meeting in person.

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