(Watch Video) Why Didn’t Some New Hanover School Board Republicans Support the Permanent Removal of CRT Book ‘Stamped’?

by | Nov 20, 2023 | News Analysis, Commentary and Opinion

Revealed at the NHCS Stamped Hearing: Republican Board Members Lean Left on CRT Book

The New Hanover County Schools board hearing on Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You book showed that four out of five Republican board members leaned Left on this educational issue, with two members abandoning their campaign commitments. What unfolded at the NHCS Stamped hearing amounted to a disregard of the Republican voters’ will and a blatant verbal attack on a worried mother. Below, we disclose information that local GOP leadership has not openly acknowledged.

A Lone Republican Board Member Advocated for Complete Ban, While Other Republicans Opted for a Diluted ‘Time-Out’ on Stamped

Did the other four Republicans succumb to Far-Left influence with a compromised motion?

On September 1st, 2023, the Republican-controlled New Hanover County School Board approved a motion to permit the future use of Ibram X. Kendi’s book Stamped in the classroom provided that a “balanced” book be added — the approval for this book is to occur at a future, unspecified date. Board Member Pat Bradford, who introduced the motion, emphasized the need for educational “balance” and advocated for Stamped to remain in school libraries until a second book is found — upon such time, Stamped will be approved for instructional use. This move by the board implies that the disputed content in Stamped will be accepted in the future as a legitimate alternative to established facts of American history.

Despite four out of five Republican board members voting to support Bradford’s proposal for a temporary pause on Stamped, conservative voters might be surprised to learn that when Melissa Mason moved for a district-wide, permanent removal of Stamped in both classrooms and libraries, her amendment to Bradford’s motion failed due to a lack of support. Not one Republican board member stepped forward to second Mason’s proposal for the permanent removal of the book from the district.

(Video Below) Watch as Board Member Melissa Mason passionately lists reasons for the full removal of ‘Stamped,’ then amends Bradford’s original motion to include permanent removal. Not a single Republican board member stepped up to second Mason’s amendment. (3:47 runtime)

Mason ultimately opted to vote for Bradford’s motion to temporarily remove the book, as the only alternative would have been to side with the Democratic viewpoint to retain Stamped in the classroom, which was the NHCS media review committee’s recommendation.

Campaign Promises Broken

While NHCS Chair Pete Wildeboer didn’t specifically promise to remove CRT from schools, Josie Barnhart and Pat Bradford actively campaigned on eradicating CRT education in New Hanover County schools. Yet, despite their campaign messaging to aggressively fight CRT when elected, they chose to not fulfill said promises when Mason presented the opportunity.  With Ibram X. Kendi’s books (including Stamped) used in the classroom as applied-CRT propaganda, one question begs to be asked: What happened to our ‘conservative’ members on the board?

(Below) The following “I promise” advertisement was approved by Josie Barnhart and disseminated across Facebook during her 2022 school board campaign.

Josie Barnhart promised to remove CRT from Sschools in New Hanover County Schools.

(Below) The following “Leadership initiatives” stance was published by Pat Bradford on her campaign website during her 2022 run for school board. In the first paragraph, Bradford states “I will work with our new board to eradicate CRT, SEL, etc. and all its derivatives from our school district…”

Pat Bradford's POLICY STATEMENTS when campaigning for New Hanover County School Board

Highlights of NHCS’ Stamped Book Hearing

Stamped Hearing Case Documents

In the days leading up to the NHCS hearing on the ‘Stamped’ book, all board members were provided with supporting materials from the appellant, parent Katie Gates, and the respondent, NHCS Assistant Superintendent Dawn Brinson. These documents aimed to reinforce the respective cases for either removing or retaining the book.

The following documents were supplied by New Hanover County Schools for use in the hearing.

(Click to links view)

Combined Gates-Brinson documents for board members

2020 AP English Language and Composition Course Description

The Indictment of a Concerned Parent

Katie Gates’ Appeal to the School Board

Prior to laying out her case against the use of Stamped in the classroom to the Board, parent Katie Gates provided her formal request to the Board that,

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You be removed from all classrooms in New Hanover County Schools because it is educationally unsuitable and policy non-compliant. I am not asking it to be removed from the libraries.”

Then, across a 20-minute span, Gates gave an impressive presentation for why the Ibram X. Kendi book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You should be removed from all classroom instruction. In stark contrast to the district representative’s defense of the book, Mrs. Gates gave a well-crafted argument with poise and conviction.

To show that Stamped is unfit for use, Gates provided six grounds of supporting evidence for removing the book:

  • The teacher, Kelly Kidwell, seemingly chose Stamped to teach biased Afro-centric history, not rhetoric and English Composition (the purpose of the class).
  • Stamped did not prepare students for the College Board’s AP exam.
  • Stamped wasn’t approved by the College Board for AP course use, nor was it approved through the District’s quality assurance measures as directed by policy.
  • Stamped is not at college reading level — as it was adopted from the original Stamped From The Beginning and rewritten for middle school readers.
  • Stamped relies on subjective, manipulative viewpoints rather than objective facts. The authors alter the meanings of existing words to align with their own biases, then present the material as if it were factual.
  • Stamped contains numerous inaccuracies and misleads the reader when it cites sources.

Even though Gates made a compelling argument against the book, her exact request (to withdraw Stamped from classroom use across the district) was never brought up for a vote by the Board. Instead, Vice Chair Pat Bradford introduced a pre-written motion to place the book on temporary hold from classrooms while allowing the book to remain in NHCS libraries.

(Below) An impressive three-minute clip from Katie Gates’ presentation where Gates provides one of many examples on how authors Ibram X. Kendi  and Jason Reynolds skew first source citations to craft an untruthful narrative of American history. (3:05 runtime)

A Modern Struggle Session: The Indictment of a Conservative Parent

While the book hearing was established to evaluate the educational value of Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped, board members repeatedly posed an inappropriately personal line of questioning which some may regard as unethical. The nature and intensity of the questioning raises the following concern: was the direction of the hearing manipulated to dissuade parents from raising future complaints?

Notably, the Board’s decision to not direct any personal questions towards Superintendent Foust and Assistant Superintendent Brinson, after their presentation in support of ‘Stamped’, appeared to demonstrate a stark and callous bias against Mrs. Gates.

(Below) A compilation of NHCS board members cross-examining parent Katie Gates after her talk on the book ‘Stamped.’ (8;16 runtime)

(Below) Katie Gates’ full 20-minute argument for why ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You’ should be removed from New Hanover County Schools’ classroom instruction. (19:48 runtime)

New Hanover County Schools Defends use of Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi

In response to Katie Gates’ argument against the book Stamped, Assistant Superintendent Dawn Brinson spoke at the hearing in favor of keeping the book in the curriculum. Superintendent Charles Foust sat alongside Brinson to aid in the book’s defense. Notably missing from the hearing was Kelli Kidwell, the AP teacher responsible for introducing Stamped into AP courses. Of all the people who should have been present to defend the book, she was conspicuously absent for an unspecified reason.

Baffling Word Salad and Second-rate Non-answers

Remarkably, despite their educational backgrounds, both Brinson and Foust seemed ill-equipped to handle even basic questions during the hearing, often resorting to convoluted admissions of ignorance. A particularly cringe-worthy moment occurred when Board Member McManus asked Foust for his definition of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and whether it was taught in schools. Foust responded, “I don’t know the definition, so it would be hard for me to confirm that it’s being taught, as I’m not sure what it is.”  Considering that Critical Race Theory (CRT) has dominated educational debates over the past three years, Dr. Foust’s duplicitous response shows his reluctance to admit his comprehension of the issue — as the public is well aware of his full knowledge on the topic as evidenced by his association with Sophic Solutions.

(Below) A montage of ‘word-salad, non-answers and “I don’t knows” by Superintendent Charles Foust and Assistant Superintendent Dawn Brinson. (5:38 runtime)

Again, over the hours’ worth of questioning, the Board did not probe into the personal lives of either Superintendent Foust or Assistant Superintendent Brinson as they had with Mrs. Gates. There were no probing personal inquiries about their — or their children’s — personal lives or their personal motives for keeping the book in the classroom. Perhaps these questions were simply overlooked or, perhaps, they just found them uninteresting.

(Below) The full 20-minute argument for keeping Stamped in the classroom setting as presented by Superintendent Charles Foust and Assistant Superintendent Dawn Brinson. (18:29 runtime)

Contract Extension and Stamped: Dr. Foust’s Role and Voters’ Expectations

On August 30th, Dr. Charles Foust’s employment contract renewal was executed, with Pete Wildeboer’s endorsement and Crystal Buie’s certification. Exactly two days later, Dr. Foust was actively involved in the book hearing, defending the use of Stamped for classroom teaching, in direct opposition to Mrs. Gates concerns. This raises the question of why board members Barnhart, Bradford, and Wildeboer would approve the extension of Dr. Foust’s tenure, knowing the opposing role he would play at the Stamped hearing. This is particularly puzzling when it comes to Bradford, when she stated on her own campaign website:

“I will not support any NHC school employee or elected official pushing implementation of CRT and/or sexual grooming for our students.”

The actions of these board members seems at odds with what voters expected when they elected a Republican majority.

Questions need to be raised.

Watch NHCS’ Kendi Book Hearing in its Entirety

Katie Gates, Dawn Brinson, and Charles Foust took only 40 minutes for their presentations, but the NHC School Board’s book hearing lasted over five hours. Much of this time was unnecessary, as Vice Chair Bradford’s final motion was pre-scripted, and didn’t address Mrs. Gates’ formal request. Watch the whole meeting below.

(Below) The full 5-hours Stamped hearing on September 1, 2023. (5:16:41 runtime)

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