Head of NY school that suspended teacher over ‘white shaming’ comments recorded agreeing with him

Paul Rossi accuses the school of ‘demonising’ white people in its curriculum

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Tuesday 20 April 2021 23:59 BST
A math teach was ‘relieved’ of his teaching duties after he slammed the Grace Church School’s (pictured) anti-racism curriculum
A math teach was ‘relieved’ of his teaching duties after he slammed the Grace Church School’s (pictured) anti-racism curriculum (Wikimedia Commons)

The math teacher who was dismissed from an elite New York City school for speaking against the anti-racism curriculum has released audio on Tuesday that corroborated his claims that the head of the institution was also expressing similar doubts.

Grace Church School teacher Paul Rossi accused the $57,000-per-year school of indoctrinating students and “demonising” white people last week in an essay shared on former New York Times editor Bari Weiss’ Substack newsletter.

The teacher also claimed that Head of School George Davison agreed with his perspective but has chosen to publicly condemn his opinion.

In audio released on Tuesday by the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism, it relayed a 2 March conversation between Mr Rossi and Mr Davison. The conversation involved Mr Davison essentially agreeing with the match teacher that the school was teaching white students that they were inherently “evil”.

“Having a teacher, an authority figure, talk to you endlessly, every year, telling you, that because you have whiteness, you are associated with evils, with all these different evils, it’s not the same as taking a physical thing, because it doesn’t affect your moral value. That’s the problem,” Mr Rossi told the head of school in the audio.

Mr Davidson replied: “I’m agreeing with you that there has been a demonisation that we need to get our hands around, in the way in which people are doing this understanding. We’re demonising white people for being born.”

To this, Mr Rossi said, “And are some of our students white people? OK, so we’re demonising white kids. Why don’t you just say it?”

In the essay later condemned by the school, Mr Rossi spoke out against his school’s stance of prohibiting the use of “non-inclusive” language such as “mom and dad” when referring to a student’s parents. 

“My school is asking me to embrace ‘anti-racism’ training and pedagogy that I believe is deeply harmful to them and to any person who seeks to nurture the virtues of curiosity, empathy and understanding,” Mr Rossi wrote. 

“My school, like so many others, induces students via shame and sophistry to identify primarily with their race before their individual identities are fully formed,” he continued.

Grace Church School, including Mr Davison, spoke out against the math teacher and the letter he published about the school’s current practices.

But there was no acknowledgement by the school about the audio of Mr Davison agreeing with some of the teachers points.

“As you may be aware, a member of the faculty wrote and posted an article that is critical of Grace and of our efforts to build a school where everyone feels they belong,” Mr Davison wrote in a statement issued this week. “The process of building a community is often challenging, and I am disappointed that this individual felt it necessary to air his differences in this way.”

The Independent has contacted the school for a comment.

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