A planned all-day civil rights seminar planned for Winnetka’s New Trier High School has sparked outrage in some parents who have gone as far creating pages on Facebook and websites to voice their stark opposition to he event. Their using their new creations to call for either the addition of conservative speakers and presenters, or a complete cancellation of the $30,000 event.
According to the Chicago Tribune, students will hear from a keynote speaker and then spend the rest of the day participating in two out of over 100 other events and workshops that have been scheduled for the Feb. 28 event.
They aforementioned keynote speakers are Colson Whitehead, author of “The Underground Railroad,” and Andrew Ayden,co-author with U.S. Rep. John Lewis of “March,” a graphic novel series chronicling Lewis’ civil rights history.
The Superintendent of the district said that the keynote speech and a 50-minute homeroom presentation are mandatory, but if students are uncomfortable with anything in the sessions then they will be allowed to leave.
The reason for all of the current opposition is that, according to the parents, it lacks conservative voices, presenting only liberal viewpoints on the issues being discussed at the event.
One parent, whose son is a junior at New Trier HS, said the schedule and presenters were “Flagrantly and unquestionably politically extreme.”
He continued, “What I’d like to see happen is simple: just some balance in what’s presented.” He also added that this debate has brought strife and conflict into an otherwise welcoming and friendly community.
However, people in support of the event say that the planned speakers and events in their present scheduling will allow students to make up their own mind in a balanced manner on this crucial American social issue.
A supporting parent said that “not only is this a great lineup of programming, but an essential day for our kids.” He further defended the event by saying that while the opposition is “well organized and very vocal,” that it is still “very small” in comparison.
In fact, Superintendent Linda Yonke said that she has had “well over 300 phone calls, emails, and letters of support saying ‘Don’t change it, it looks fabulous.”
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