Benjamin Rodgers was a choir teacher who worked at Grand Haven Area Public Schools for 8 years. He is an American and citizen just like you and me. Over the past few years, he was increasingly directed to teach children concepts which were in opposition to his beliefs as a moral, responsible, Christian citizen. Benjamin Rodgers had so much integrity that he would not compromise his beliefs for a paycheck. Rather, he stood up for what he believed in and resigned his position.
The Grand Haven Area Public School administrators probably felt like this was a big win for them. After all, Benjamin Rodgers was asking them difficult questions they didn’t want to answer like, “Do we really want to teach our students to judge someone by race, gender, religion and sexual orientation? Or do we encourage characteristics of integrity, moral character and work ethic?” What these administrators really wanted was for him to obey. They never wanted to hear his opinion, because he held the wrong opinion. He was guilty of wrong-think. He was resistant to indoctrination. They wanted him to be quiet, fall-in-line, and simply do as he was told.
But Benjamin Rodgers was not willing to do as told and now there is one less person fighting the evil being pushed onto our children. We all know that the students are the biggest losers in this situation as they will have one less teacher who truly understands the values of freedom, equality, and independence which made this country great.
At the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year Benjamin Rodgers was planning to continue teaching and fighting against the evils of critical race theory invading GHAPS. If you remember, approximately two days before the students were to begin class, the GHAPS school board voted to mask our children. Both masking and CRT proved too much for this admirable choir teacher and he chose to take a leave of absence. First, he wrote the following letter to parents:
A few months later, during the November 2021 School Board Meeting choir teacher Benjamin Rodgers officially resigned his position. The Critical Race Theory training that exploded during the 2020-21 school year in Grand Haven Schools proved too much. Here is a video of his resignation speech.
My name is Benjamin Rodgers. I have been a choral director for 17 years. Eight of those here in Grand Haven. Tonight, while formally addressing the board, I’m speaking to the parents and community behind me.
Critical Race Theory is being intentionally integrated into the Grand Haven Public Schools.
During the 20-21 school year, most of the Grand Haven staff were forced to sit through professional development laced with Critical Race Theory. We were asked to sign a statement acknowledging our “whiteness” and pledge to “do the necessary work” to be better. All professional development last year focused on white privilege, systematic racism and equity. The high school staff was given a copy of “This Book is Anti-Racist”. The student group, Calling All Colors, created a four-part lesson which defined the dominant culture as being White, Male, Cisgender & Christian. These videos noted that systematic racism permeates our nation and the members of the dominant culture are oppressors.
Following the final professional development session, entitled “Brave Conversations”, I sent an email posing the question: “do we really want to teach our students to judge someone by race, gender, religion and sexual orientation? Or do we encourage characteristic of integrity, moral character and work ethic?”
One Assistant Principal responded by sending me a list of books and documentaries with titles like White Fragility and the New Jim Crow in hopes to re-educate my thinking.
Shortly after my email was sent, I received a meeting request with two principals and two administrators from the ESC. From this lengthy meeting, I was able to learn that Grand Haven was creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee to figure out how to implement similar racial discussions across the K-12 district.
The 21-22 school year started with a brief CRT professional development but this time, we were told that CRT is not and has never been taught in Grand Haven and were even instructed what to say if parents asked about CRT. We were told that CRT isn’t a curriculum like math and science: neither is multiplication or the periodic table. It’s all semantics. I believe this intentional word play is an attempt to settle awakened parents to allow CRT to creep back in the shadows where it can continue to fester in the district.
Critical Race Theory is alive and well in Grand Haven Public Schools. I refuse to be a part of a district that teaches an ideology that, by definition, is racist. I no longer chose to be associated with the indoctrination of our youth here in Grand Haven and officially resign my position.