OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Students walked out of class on Wednesday, protesting a Shawnee Mission North High School teacher’s criticism of mandatory diversity training.
Those students were met by a counter protest — supporters of that teacher who contend teachers are forced to attend mandatory Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training, and to program students with left-wing politics.
Caedran Sullivan, who has been an English teacher at Shawnee Mission North for 15 years, told FOX4 last week teachers have the right to their own opinions.
Sullivan’s thoughts were originally published by The Lion. On Wednesday, Sullivan didn’t answer questions, but referred FOX4 News to an updated op-ed article, where she challenged Shawnee Mission School District leaders to share their DEI training manual with the public.
Students stormed out of class Wednesday morning, saying they expect this school district to take action against Sullivan for refusing to treat transgender students as equals. Some students accused Sullivan of making racist statements in class.
The students who walked out of classrooms Wednesday, protested that district leaders won’t discipline Sullivan.
“It’s not acceptable that she’s still here, and that she can post all that stuff on the internet, and that’s OK,” Destiney Hall, a student at the school, said.
The protest lined Johnson Drive outside the school.
The teenagers were joined by people who support Sullivan, who also accuse educators of forcing their politics on teachers, and in turn, on students.
“Just because we’re teachers doesn’t mean we leave our constitutional rights at the door,” Maria Holiday, a retired teacher and chair of the Johnson County Republican Party, said.
Holiday agrees with Sullivan’s stance that teachers are quitting their positions with this school district because of the required DEI training.
“I have granddaughters and I don’t want teachers to push their ideological — or administrators — to push their ideological agendas on to my grandchildren,” Holiday continued.
Last Thursday, Sullivan told FOX4 she’s also upset that district administrators expect teachers to address transgender students with their preferred pronouns, and to keep that a secret from those students’ parents. A district spokesperson denied that claim last week.
David Smith, this district’s longtime spokesperson, told FOX4 the plans for DEI training are available for anyone to see in person, but the district isn’t permitted to post or email those publicly, since the documents are copywrited by their publisher. Smith also said protesters on both sides of this issue have the right to voice their opinions.
“We’ve come a long way from getting away from segregation. This is bringing it all back. It’s ridiculous and it’s being taught in our schools each day,” Debbie Detmer, who spoke in support of Sullivan, said.
📲 Download the FOX4 News app to stay updated on the go.
📧 Sign up for FOX4 email alerts to have breaking news sent to your inbox.
💻 Find today’s top stories on fox4kc.com for Kansas City and all of Kansas and Missouri.
“I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when it’s so controversial like that, it can be uncomfortable for other people, especially if they’re teachers,” Lily Enloe, another student protestor, said.