LETTER: Resident Calls for Stronger Response to Showing of Anti-Police Video at Middle School

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Dear Dr. Galdston,

Let me preface my comments by expressing my admiration for the vast majority of wonderful teachers that have answered a “calling” to educate children, especially those in the Watertown Public Schools. As I noted, being a teacher is far more than a job, it’s a vocation and calling. My older sister was foreign language teacher and reading specialist, before she retired. I personally saw all the hours she put into the lesson planning and correcting papers. People don’t see all the work teachers do. Nor do they see that they often buy supplies with their own money. But the most important thing many folks don’t see or understand is the emotional commitment teachers make to their students.

Having said that; I must express my dismay at your weak response to the situation at the Middle School. In your statement you rightly noted that the video shown to the students was Anti-Law Enforcement. What you failed to note is that it is equally Racist, Anti-American, and Marxist. The racism is blatant. How you missed it, is beyond me. The Anti-Americanism and Marxism are only slightly more subtle. Said video claims that police are there to protect Capitalism and Private Property. As if those founding principles of our country are a bad thing!  The right to private property and to pursue economic advancement are fundamental to the pursuit of happiness. Indeed, one of the original drafts of the Declaration of Independence read: Life, Liberty, and Property

Also grievously missing in your statement is any mention of discipline towards Ms. Henry and Ms. Martin (who as has been reported didn’t even reprimand this inexcusable behavior). Ms. Henry should have been suspended without pay within seconds of your being informed … after verification that she did indeed do this she should have been terminated. A letter to the appropriate State Authority, recommending her Teaching Certification in Massachusetts be permanently revoked should have also been sent. As for Ms. Martin, she should have immediately and publicly reprimanded Ms. Henry. Thereafter she owed each student and their parents a public apology, and informed the students that the video was WRONG, slanted, Anti-Law Enforcement, Racist, Marxist, Anti-American and Ms Henry had no right whatsoever to show it to them.  If she didn’t do that, she also should have been terminated — again with a recommendation to the appropriate State authority to permanently revoke any certifications she has to be involved in Education.

Ms. Henry is guilty of nothing short of child abuse. She shouldn’t be allowed within 1,000 feet of a school building, unless she’s there to cast a vote on election day. The same holds true for Principal Martin, if she indeed refused to reprimand Ms. Henry. 

Nothing short of termination will suffice the demands of justice. Frankly in my opinion that still falls short. Were it possible their pensions should forfeit as well. The money should be set aside to help fund a college fund for victims of this grave, insidious, and malicious abuse.  

In addition, positive actions must be taken to under this grave injustice. The students need to hear from you personally condemning Ms. Henry and content in video as being FALSE and driven by an agenda that hates America. As well, the students should be shown videos or hear a speaker that will tell them the truth about Law Enforcement, Capitalism, Race relations and so forth.

Finally there should be a public announcement that any Teacher found trying to indoctrinate students with similar Racist, Anti-American, Anti-Law Enforcement, Marxist views will be immediately terminated. The Taxpayers of Watertown are paying to Educate Students, not indoctrinate them by agenda driven extremist activists posing as teachers. More importantly our students deserve no less.

John DiMascio

21 thoughts on “LETTER: Resident Calls for Stronger Response to Showing of Anti-Police Video at Middle School

  1. Why would this website even give a person like this a public platform to spew their ridiculous, ill-informed, fear mongering garbage-thoughts? This incident promoted Marxist ideas? Was racist against whom (I can only assume racist against the notoriously oppressed white people)? Child abuse? This incident aside, this teacher has done a lot for the students of this school in terms of anti-racist education and Kingian Non-Violence training, and she puts her heart into it. From the comments I’ve seen on this topic, both on Facebook and in this absolutely absurd statement, there’s a lot of thinly-veiled racism among the residents of this town, so – more than anything – that’s probably something that needs to be addressed in the schools here.

    Also: “The money should be set aside to help fund a college fund for victims of this grave, insidious, and malicious abuse. ” Sir, are you ok? I’m genuinely concerned.

    • J. Brown, meet Mr. DiMascio. Mr. DiMascio has made a career of peddling unsupported and unhinged right wing screed here and elsewhere. But I must say that he has outdone himself with this letter. John, this is a masterpiece of misinformation. I’ll bet you are proud of yourself. You hit every specious right wing falsehood in existence in one letter. You even invented nonsense that I have never heard before. Congratulations.

      J. Brown, you are correct that there is a lot of low grade racism in Watertown. It is a shame, because Watertown is a nice place to live. There are those in town who see threats and subversion behind every tree. But there are also many good folks who are dedicated to making the world–and this town–a better place. I believe that they are in the majority.

      Not all criticism of policing is “anti-police”. Some of it is actually pro-police because it seeks to increase the trust given police by eliminating bad attitudes that undermine trust. Until I actually see the video, I would withhold judgement. But it is hard not to think of much of the reaction to this as grossly overblown. At worst, the video should have been vetted before being shown. But I don’t believe that there was any malevolent intent involved. Certainly no Marxist conspiracy.

  2. Parents across the US are wary and weary of “identity” politics in public schools.

    Is Watertown becoming another Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, and Berkeley, California?

  3. All,

    Of course when a citizen of Watertown expresses their dismay over this anti police video… our left wing friends attack. Let’s state facts. Did the teacher show this movie?? Was she authorized to show it to her students? Do the citizens of Watertown want their children being taught this in the classroom?? Where is the school board on this subject. Ideology aside… if you show anti police videos in a public classroom… you don’t belong teaching in Watertown. Police officers are heroes. They are people who children look up to. Who children feel safe around. If you as a parent want to teach your child to hate police. To not trust them. Do it at home. The classroom is not the place

    David MacLellan

    West jr graduate 73-75

    • Have you actually seen the video David? Know any of the people involved? Have any first hand information? It might be wiser to actually get some solid information before you bash your more liberal neighbors. Yeah. . .I know. . .that would take all the fun out of it.

      With these sorts of things there is often information that is not widely reported. And often it proves unwise to spout off based just on what you have heard.

      • Joe you keep posting to everyone “have you seen the video?” And “ ? It might be wiser to actually get some solid information.” I urge you to do the same the video has been posted as the first article on this site linked it to the turtle boy site with the video. So take some time and actually get some solid information and see how bad this video truly is. I’ll give you a teaser it starts off saying “99-100% of cops are racist.” Does that sound like a good public school education?

        • Will, I have seen the video. It is basically factually correct. The first statement is provocative, yes. Whether the presentation is appropriate for Middle Schoolers is subject to debate. Let’s be clear: There is a well documented problem in the culture of policing.

          But let’s act like adults please. Many of the comments on this and other threads are being made by supposed adults who don’t seem to have the maturity one would expect from Middle Schoolers. To call for a teacher’s firing without being fully informed of all the circumstances and context borders on barbaric.

          There are many ways to deal with this, but firing the teacher is not one of them. Perhaps the Watertown Chief should be invited to explain what measures the WPD is taking to make sure its police are not part of the problem. A serious discussion is what is needed, not a lynch mob.

          But every day, if one reads the news, there is another report of bad police behavior. Asking questions is not anti-police. Serious discussion of the way in which we deal with anti-social behaviors is long overdue.

          • Amen! Sound, reasonable, and respectful discussion is needed from all angles on any topic.

  4. I am under the impression that this video was shown in relation to a students presentation. I have seen the video and don’t find it offensive at all. The opening is meant to grab you but then it goes on to explain the history.

    I also think this teacher has done a lot to promote tolerance, conflict resolution, etc and it is a complete shame that she is being treated this way by the community. It also looks like the administration is trying to point the finger at her without acknowledging their own part in all of this.

    • So now we hear from someone who has actually seen the video and it seems that all the hysteria may be misguided.

      There is often more to a story than travels on the grapevine. When people exercise their outrage without facts it can be very destructive. People get hurt without cause.

      Calm down everyone and seek out facts. . .please! Hair-trigger outrage is not beneficial to our community.

      • It’s not mis guided. She has been doing this for at least 6 years. My daughter’s Spanish class (2014) was chock full of social justice and ‘killings’. I have my emails I personally sent to her asking her to stop. My kid learned no Spanish.

  5. Read the Superintendent’s letter carefully. She states that the Watertown Public Schools will provide a “holistic view of American history, including racism, systemic racism, and the roots of the Civil Rights and racial justice movements.”

    Holistic means encouraging the whole thing, and not just part (www.vocabulary.com).

    In American history the idea of the Superintendent’s “appropriate curriculum” has run head-on into “Mein Kampf”, “Serpico”, “The Godfather”, Howard Zinn’s “People’s History”, and – worst of all – “Huckleberry Finn.” I watched the video in question; it is bad for many reasons. For example, the Boston Police employ over 800 people who are identified as Black, Hispanic, or Asian and fit in that 99 to 100% racist category. How do we feel about that? However, the video is sophomoric compared to the dangerous works listed above. It is an example of a view that seems wrong in many views but is prevalent in parts of society. In a “holistic” environment, teachers have leeway to challenge those works. Be advised that the Town gave this teacher the broadest imaginable mission – address the whole thing.

    I am not big on book burning, but the angry people should focus on the School Committee and let them decide if they want the holistic view or something else.

    Good luck disciplining a teacher who simply did what the Town leadership very publicly demanded. All I know about that teacher is she takes care of the most vulnerable kids. All the angry people clamoring for a termination should be checking their insurance policies first. That reference to “child abuse” is simply despicable. Every decent public official needs to speak up.
    Paul Davis, Summer Street

  6. This is nuts. Im a resident of watertown and I honestly dont see the huge deal. The problem I see is giving a voice to these fringe, right wing websites. As mentioned by “parent”, context is important. Was it a 10 minute video talking about hating the police or was it framing a point of view of a victim (or something else)? As a good educator you have to give all sides of the argument and present it in a way that gives students context and background.
    This is the same “faux” outrage that the right hates about the left. Talk about cancel culture, you are trying to cancel this teacher! I also want to add that I personally have nothing against our police officers in Watertown, but as students go out into the world they will see anti and pro police messaging. I believe its important for students to know what these viewpoints are about.

    Lastly, stop promoting these MAGA hate sites. Its not good journalism.

  7. I fully support and respect Ruth Henry and the other teachers who have the courage to speak out and take action against racism. They are protecting kids who are being racially harassed and carrying out the mandate to educate kids about all of our history not just the version that avoids history of racism. “Child abuse”? Are you serious? Where is Principal Martin and where is Dr. Galdston? Anti racism is Marxist? Why not just argue about facts the video portrays? Cutting off meaningful conversation by calling it Marxist is not good role modeling for our kids. Criticism of police…criticism of anything we pay taxes for and who serve us…is not anti-anything. It’s called democracy and equal justice for all. Ask the police who are similarly concerned about the racism they see among their fellow officers. We can support the police AND we can hold them accountable. I applaud Ms Henry and all the other courageous teachers. Please don’t give up.

  8. Joe Levendusky is trying to downplay this video. It is awful like most of MTV, CBS, MSNBC, PBS and most newspapers. Apparently this teacher Ms. Henry, is some sort of Social Justice Warrior and poisoning the minds of Watertown Middle Schoolers for 6 years now, if one is to believe MH who wrote about her above.

    If one sticks to a few facts as outlined by David M. above, it does seem time to part ways with Ms. Henry and the entire attempt to turn Watertown into another bastion of lousy lefty lunacy.

    • Listen to yourself, “. . . social justice warrior and poisoning the minds of Watertown Middle Schoolers. . .”

      Justice is poison? Are you for real? And please sign your name if you have such strong feelings. Unbelievable.

  9. It’s not an “anti-police” video! It’s an educational video about the history of racism in policing! Geez! Did you even watch the video??

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