Prep School Teacher Quits Job Over Critical Race Theory, Says it Creates 'Hostile Culture of Conformity'

An English teacher at a prep school in New Jersey resigned from her position over disagreements with the school's critical race theory lessons, claiming they were creating a hostile environment "of conformity and fear" within the school.

Dana Stangel-Plowe wrote in her resignation letter that the Dwight-Englewood School was requiring "students to see themselves not as individuals, but as representatives of a group, forcing them to adopt the status of privilege or victimhood."

"As a result, students arrive in my classroom accepting this theory as fact: People born with less melanin in their skin are oppressors, and people born with more melanin in their skin are oppressed. Men are oppressors, women are oppressed, and so on," she wrote.

She wrote that the school was failing its students. "Over the past few years," Stangel-Plowe wrote, "the school has embraced an ideology that is damaging to our students' intellectual and emotional growth and destroying any chance at creating a true community among our diverse population. I reject the hostile culture of conformity and fear that has taken hold of our school."

Stangel-Plowe had taught at the Dwight-Englewood School since 2014 and reported two instances in 2017 and 2018 where the head of the school, Rodney De Jarnett, "told the entire faculty that he would fire us all if he could so that he could replace us all with people of color," according to her resignation letter.

The resignation letter was published by the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, an organization founded by private school parent Bion Bartning earlier this year, whose mission is to oppose critical race theory teachings in schools and promote what it calls a "pro-human" agenda.

Stangel-Plowe said the school claimed to teach students how to think, not what to think, and that that statement was no longer true. The school's mission statement reads: "We seek excellence, honor, integrity and embrace diversity in order to develop the skills, values and courage to meet the challenges of a changing world."

She also said in her letter, "During a recent faculty meeting, teachers were segregated by skin color. Teachers who had light skin were placed into a 'white caucus' group and asked to 'remember' that we are 'White' and 'to take responsibility for [our] power and privilege,'" and questioned whether the school would start segregating students next.

As a teacher, she expressed her disappointment in the way that students have been told they should learn. "I teach students who recoil from a poem because it was written by a man. I teach students who approach texts in search of the oppressor. I teach students who see inequities in texts that have nothing to do with power. Students have internalized the message that this is the way we read and think about the world, and as a result, they fixate on power and group identity," she wrote.

Dwight-Englewood School is not the only school that has been under fire recently for its implementation of critical race theory. The Sun reported that private prep schools in Virginia and New York City have also been among the schools that are receiving backlash from parents on the kinds of things they are teaching their children.

Newsweek reached out to Dwight-Englewood School for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

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Third grade literacy instructor Katelyn Battinelli, left, speaks with students on the first day of in-person learning for five days per week at Stark Elementary School on March 10, in Stamford, Connecticut. A prep school teacher resigned from her position because the critical race theory taught at her school "promotes a hostile culture of conformity and fear." Photo by John Moore/Getty Images