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Tipsheet

Maine Elementary School Encouraged Students to Participate in BLM March

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

An elementary school in Portland, Maine reportedly encouraged fifth grade students to participate in a Black Lives Matter protest, according to documents obtained by parental rights organization Parents Defending Education. 

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Presumpscot Elementary School of Portland Public Schools posted a video of the students protesting and shouting “Black Lives Matter” in March. Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to the district requesting documents and emails relating to the event (via Parents Defending Education): 

In all of the emails, most of the school staff involved in discussions of the march have their pronouns listed in their email signatures. In one file of emails, the principal of Presumpscot Elementary School stated on March 4, 2023:

There are moments as an educator/leader when you are humbled by the students and staff you work with. Friday was one of those moments. I was waiting at the green light on the corner of Washington and Presumpscot behind a car. We were waiting to turn left when most of our school held up traffic as they marched chanting Black Lives Matter. It was incredible. Thank you, [redacted] and PRS Civil rights Team, for leading this work. Our students are the next leaders of this country and world and I know because of them it will be a more just place.

In this same file of emails, a fifth grade teacher with pronouns in her email signature who helped organize the march explained more about the event. In an email dated February 16, 2023, she stated:

On February 28th from 9:30-10, 5th grade students will be leading a march to celebrate the end of Black History Month. This march is organized and led by the 5th grade civil rights team and is united in the message that Black Lives Matter here at Presumpscot and in our global community! Classes are invited to join the march by walking with us and visiting our memorial/celebration in the new cafeteria throughout the day.

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PDE noted that a fifth grade student emailed a teacher to provide plans for the march. Part of the plans included going into classrooms and making an announcement “telling everyone where the march is and and [sic] tell them about it and why it is so important and to please respect the piece of work that all the civil rights team did and please come with your class or with friends.” 

The day before the march, a teacher sent out an email stating that class schedules were arranged around allowing students to go to the march. And, teachers assigned lessons that centered around BLM, including showing students a “Pyramid of Hate.” The pyramid claims that actions like using “non-inclusive language” and committing “microaggressions” will lead to “the act or intent to deliberately and systematically annihilate an entire people.”

“Using Black Lives Matter talking points and a ‘Pyramid of Hate’ for elementary students is not teaching leadership skills, it is promoting ideological indoctrination that doesn’t belong in the K-12 classrooms. A school district that has a proficiency score below 50% should be focused on effective methods to address the learning loss their students are facing, not encouraging partisan activities," Mailyn Salabarria, the director of community engagement for Parents Defending Education, told Townhall.

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