NJ Prep School Teacher Says Divisive Policies Forced Her To Quit

A Bergen County prep school teacher says a "hostile culture of conformity and fear" drove her to quit her job.

Dana Stangel Plowe

Dana Stangel Plowe

Photo Credit: Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism

Dana Stangel-Plowe said students entered her English class at Dwight-Englewood High School seeing themselves "not as individuals, but as representatives of a group, forcing them to adopt the status of privilege or victimhood."

Then came "accepting as fact" that "people born with less melanin in their skin are oppressors, and people born with more melanin in their skin are oppressed," Stangel-Plowe wrote in her resignation letter. 

"Men are oppressors, women are oppressed, and so on," she added. "This is the dominant and divisive ideology that is guiding our adolescent students."  

Stangel-Plowe also alleged that Head of School Rodney De Jarnett at least twice told the faculty that he "would fire us all if he could so that he could replace us all with people of color."

They were also segregated by skin color during a recent faculty meeting, she added.

"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'," Stangel-Plowe explained.

"D-E’s racial segregation of educators, aimed at leading us to rethink of ourselves as oppressors, was regressive and demeaning to us as individuals with our own moral compass and human agency," she wrote in her letter, which was posted -- along with a video -- by a group called the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism.

Dwight-Englewood officials didn't immediately return a request for comment Wednesday. 

Upper School Principal Joe Algrant was quoted in the New York Post as saying that Stangel-Plowe had told the school several months ago that she wouldn't be returning next year.

Stangel-Plowe said she loved the job at first because it both nurtured and challenged her students. Over time, however, she said she began noticing that the school embraced critical race theory.

"This theoretical framework pervades every division of DE as the singular way of seeing the world," she said. 

The result, Stangel-Plowe said, is an obsession among students with power and group identity.

"In my professional opinion, the school is failing to encourage healthy habits of mind, essential for growth, such as intellectual curiosity, humility, honesty, reason, and the capacity to question ideas and consider multiple perspectives," she wrote.

"I care deeply about our students and our school, and so over the years, I have tried to introduce positive and constructive alternative views," Stangel-Plowe added. "My efforts have fallen on deaf ears."

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