An Open Letter to Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and the
Board of School Committee
MANCHESTER, NH June 29, 2021
Mayor Craig and members of the Honorable Board:
As you know, the resignation of whistleblower Daniel Concannon has caused quite a stir. Rightly so! While you may not approve of how he expressed his sentiments, the underlying issue he raised is one of great concern to the parents, students and taxpayers of our city and I am writing to ask that you address it accordingly.
In the Union Leader’s online story about this issue, an aide to Mayor Craig brushed aside a demand that the training protested by Mr. Concannon be released to the public. The paper reported her as saying “the mayor does not have the authority over the trainings and encouraged a reporter to contact the school district for the material.”
Given that, I am again writing to demand the release of any and all professional development or other training materials for any and all school staff that addresses the topic of “Whiteness,” “implicit bias,” “systemic racism,” “cultural awareness” or any related topic. Our parents, students and taxpayers have a right to know what training the district is either requiring or “making available” on a “voluntary” basis to the staff.
In addition, I have been contacted by parents of students at West and Central who have provided disturbing information about assignments given in class and the racist rantings of their children after lessons at school. At West, an English class was required to write an essay on systemic police racism and the virtue of the Marxist Black Lives Matter movement, which has pushed to “Defund the Police.” From Central comes a troubling message from a mixed race family where the father, who is White, was informed by his biracial daughter “that all white men are evil racists misogynistic anti gay murderers.” Apparently, that included him and the other male members of his family, all personal experiences to the contrary.
Therefore, I am also writing to demand the public release of any and all curricular materials, teacher assignments or other classroom instruction materials regarding “race relations.”
None of this acceptable! As the elected leaders of our city’s schools, it is incumbent on you to ensure that district policies, state and federal laws and the NH Constitution (Part First, Article 2), which explicitly bans such discrimination, are followed. These trainings and assignments are not teaching about racism. They’re accusing good people of being racist based solely on the color of their skin. This builds barriers between people and instills distrust. They plant the seeds of hate. It is not possible to address racism while fomenting it. This is wrong and it is up to you to correct it.
Very truly yours,
Richard H. Girard
BOSC at-Large (2016-2020)
PS: While the mayor’s claim that the district is “limited” in what it can say about this matter may apply to personnel questions about Mr. Concannon, it does not apply to this request for training materials and assignments. They stand separate and apart from each other. The requested information is clearly public under RSA 91-A, the state’s Right to Know Law. Below, should you or any member of the public wish to learn more about the issue, I’ve linked to two news stories that provide publicly released details on the district’s “Whiteness training.”