TB Investigates

Melrose Superintendent Cancels Halloween Because It’s Not Inclusive Or Equitable But Celebrates Halloween And Sends Daughter To Other Schools

 

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This is Melrose Public Schools Superintendent Julie Kukenberger (no, that is not a Turtleboy name we’ve given to her, although it sounds a lot like one – she married a guy named Kukenberger).

She gets paid $183,000 a year and recently made headlines this week for cancelling Halloween in the Melrose schools on account of it not being equitable or inclusive enough, presumably to witches, ghosts, and Frankenstein, all of whom felt marginalized.

Forget jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and candy, Melrose elementary schools will celebrate the season with broad fall-themed festivities to support the district’s mission of equity and inclusion.On Monday, Melrose Superintendent Julie Kukenberger sent an email to parents saying that, over the past few years, school officials have been working to “deemphasize Halloween and shift our focus toward community building through fall celebrations,” The Boston Globe reported.

“As a district, we value celebrations and community-building activities that represent many cultures and traditions,” she wrote. “We are committed to ensuring that all students and staff feel safe, included, and represented in our schools.”

Parents aren’t so sure about the change. A petition started by elementary school parent Carolyn Finocchiaro to “Keep Halloween for our kids” has already garnered over 1,200 signatures.

“Halloween, the term and the celebration, are being removed from the schools in Melrose,” she wrote. “A holiday and tradition that started out centuries ago, has now evolved into a modernized day of fun costumes, creepy decorations and lots of candy.”

Melrose Public Schools have decided the “term and celebration of Halloween in the schools…is no longer acceptable and non inclusive,” Finocchiaro wrote. “A day that is merely about costumes and fun has turned political.” With Halloween this weekend, some parents told NBC10 Boston that many families and teachers are confused. Some kids are allowed to wear a costume, while others aren’t, and Finocchiaro said some teachers are being told to remove images of jack-o-lanterns and replace them with leaves.

“Especially following a pandemic, their lives were turned upside down and you’re choosing this year, the first year they’re back in school to take this away? For what purpose? I don’t understand,” parent Scarlett Rajbanshi told NBC10.

This is what critical race theory looks like in practice. Liberals response to concerns about CRT is always the same thing – “we’re just trying to teach your kids history,” or “we’re not teaching CRT is schools, you crazy conspiracy theorists!” They’re clearly not.

Anyone using the words “diversity, equity, and inclusion” is offering you a trojan horse of critical race theory. Equity means equality of outcomes. For years we strived for equality of opportunity, but the problem with that was that it leads to unequal outcomes because some kids take advantage of opportunities more than others. The goal of CRT peddlers like Kukenberger is to eliminate higher level classes, grading, standardized testing like the SATs, and anything else that results in some students doing better than other students. They see that often black and brown kids aren’t in advanced classes as much as their white counterparts, and aren’t doing as well on the SAT’s. They look at the end result and determine that the system itself is racist and must be dismantled because the results were not equitable. This is what you get when your School Committee hires someone like Julie Kukenberger.

Do you realize how vapid and soulless you have to be to do this to little kids? These poor children have had 2 years of their lives stolen from them by an overreaction to a virus that never posed a threat to them. They look forward to getting dressed up and eating candy with their friends, and then this out of town white woman with a degree in social justice comes along and tells them that they can’t do that anymore because it’s not “equitable.” As if they even know what that means.

There’s just a couple problems with this:

  1. Not a single person is offended or excluded by celebrating Halloween. We get Christmas off, which is an actual religious holiday, whereas Halloween is just an excuse for kids to have fun and eat candy while getting dressed up.
  2. Kukenberger’s wide open Facebook page is covered in pictures of her family celebrating Halloween.

Her daughter doesn’t even go to the Melrose Public Schools, and will still be able to celebrate Halloween.

I guess it’s no big deal cancelling Halloween when you already cancelled Christmas.

The people who climb the ladder in public education quite often are some of the most evil, narcissistic, power hungry fascists known to man kind. Good educators want to remain educators. Bad educators want to become principals and eventually superintendents. I had no desire at all to be a principal because I loved teaching. I spent every free minute I had coming up with lessons to help students learn better. People who become superintendents start off as teachers, but their heart isn’t in it, and instead of working to become better teachers they get their PhD’s because they really just don’t want to be around kids. More than anything they want the power, prestige, and salary that comes along with being an administrator.

No one exemplifies that more than Julie Kukenberger. Check out her resume:

Click to access JK_Resume.pdf

She’s a carpetbagger from New Jersey who moved from elementary school to elementary school in the same district for 9 years.

But people like this have no long term plans to teach because they’re busy getting their Master’s Degree in educational administration. She used this degree to leave the classroom in 2012 and become the district’s “Director of Curriculum and Instruction.” Every district has one of these. It’s one of the least interesting jobs possible, but it pays more than being a teacher and you’re climbing the ladder, which is why people like Kukenberger do it.

After that she went to Boston College to get her PhD in – you guessed it – Social Justice.

Her Facebook posts show that she has an obsession with racism, and subscribes to critical race theorists like Ibram Kendi and Robin Diangelo, both of who made millions of dollars in book sales as a direct result of the death of George Floyd.

Her page is also filled with virtue signaling about microaggressions, “whiteness,” her “white privilege,” and why white people should be held accountable and feel shame for the death of George Floyd.

Her page also shows her political biases, which to the surprise of no one illustrates an undying devotion to the DNC, and her willingness to use her own daughter as a political prop.

She’s not very smart either, since she can’t seem to figure out why LeBron James makes more money than someone woman no one’s ever heard of in the WNBA.

There’s nothing communists hate more than a merit based society that pays people what they’re worth.

As you can see on her resume Kukenberger left New Jersey in 2014 to take the job as Assistant Superintendent of the Haverhill Public Schools. This was a diverse school district where she could’ve made a difference helping black and brown kids. But she really doesn’t care about kids, especially black and brown kids. She cares about herself, and she wasn’t done climbing yet, so as soon as a position opened up in Scarborough, Maine for superintendent in 2016 she applied for and received the job.

This is why School Committees should always hire superintendents from within their systems. They’re dedicated to the district and the community, not to themselves. For example, the Worcester Public Schools just fired long term educator Maureen Binienda as superintendent because she’s not woke like Kukenberger and doesn’t make you call her doctor because she has a PhD in social justice. They’re now conducting a national search, which will almost definitely bring someone like Kukenberger in to run the schools.

It worked out so well last time when they brought in Dr. Melinda Boone, who did a horrible job and was forced to resign in disgrace, so they figured they’d try it again. After Boone left the Worcester Public Schools she was hired to be superintendent of the Norfolk, VA Public Schools, where she did a horrible job and was forced to resign three years later.

This is the career path Kukenberger is currently on as well. Her tenure in Scarborough was disastrous and scandal ridden. In 2018 she told well liked Scarborough Principal David Creech that he had to resign, presumably because he was from the community and wasn’t interested in turning the schools into social justice training seminars. After Creech’s wife made a Facebook post exposing what she did Creech attempted to take back his resignation, but Kukenberger wouldn’t allow it.

In March of 2018 teachers at Scarborough High School voted 83-1 to express no confidence in Kukenberger. The union called for her resignation. When the School Committee would not fire her the townsfolk got enough signatures to hold a recall election for all three of them:

According to the Press Herald, a post on the Facebook page said the recall effort’s main goal was to call for Kukenberger’s resignation and to have Creech reinstated. Paul Johnson, member of the Road to Renewal PAC, said, “For the past two years, the board of education and specifically Julie Kukenberger have been acting in the exact opposite way from what the public thinks is right.” He also said, “Principal Creech’s resignation is just the last straw. It’s a big straw, but it’s just the last straw. 

Students began rallying behind the well liked principal as well, starting a voter registration drive for seniors at the high school.

Kukenberger saw young kids becoming excited about participating in democracy and immediately had to put an end to that by banning voter registration drives in school, because kids were trying to vote out three school board members who were protecting her job.

Kukenberger sent an email to parents saying she asked Creech to suspend the registration drive during school hours become some students felt pressured to participate and were concerned about politics being brought into the classroom. 

This power hungry authoritarian’s behavior did not sit well with the ACLU of Maine or the Secretary of State, both of who wrote letters condemning her for trying to infringe on the First Amendment rights of students in school. Ultimately all three school board members were voted out overwhelmingly by 2/3 majority of voters.

Still, Kukenberger wouldn’t resign because people like her care more about their job than the well being of the community they were hired to serve.

She stayed on for the entire 2018-19 school year due to a lack of options. Then in 2019 she went back to Massachusetts where she was hired as the interim superintendent for the Hamilton-Wenham Public Schools, but only because the top three candidates dropped out.

After three top candidates for interim superintendent of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional Schools dropped out, the School Committee was forced to go back to the drawing board. This week, the board has announced it has its new hire

Effective July 1, Julie Kukenberger will take on the role of interim superintendent of schools, following interviews with her and two other candidates on May 15. She is currently superintendent in Scarborough, Maine, but expressed a desire to work in Massachusetts in her interview.

“I decided I wanted to look at other opportunities and enjoyed my time working in Massachusetts,” she said in reference to an earlier job as assistant superintendent in Haverhill. “I was looking for a district that would be a good fit for me and the district.”

She only “expressed a desire to work in Massachusetts” because she was no longer welcome in the state of Maine. But the job was only an interim position, and in 2020 she applied for the superintendent position in Peabody, but didn’t get the job. Luckily for her the Google machine was broken in Melrose, where they conduct background checks as thoroughly as the state police, and she was hired. Her interview was posted on YouTube.

Starting around the 10:45 mark she brags about her accomplishments in Scarborough, including letting students have control by recommending the creation of a “social justice library,” as well as training on microaggressions and gender fluidity. She actually said this:

“Instead of saying names on the first day of school just say their last names and ask how they prefer to identify. Students wear name tags with preferred pronouns on them.”

She then bragged that she lists her preferred pronouns at bottom of her email to let people know they’re all safe there,” and also to make it clear that she has a vagina and agrees that it should be there.

Around the 20 minute mark she brags about getting rid of leveling in schools as well. Critical race theory proponents always try to do this. In Boston they got rid of entrance exams to the advanced high schools because not enough black and brown kids were scoring high enough. Martin Luther King would’ve urged black and brown kids to study harder, or pushed for after school programs to help kids do better on the test. CRT proponents would rather just get rid of the exams altogether. It’s a much quicker road map to equity if you cheat.

 

 

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