By Anne Newman
When parents enroll their children in a summer literacy program, it’s likely that they don’t expect them to see a film about the shooting death of a middle school student, learn how to be “agents of change” for a political agenda, or to be indoctrinated with “tolerance” curriculum from the disreputable Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) .
Children as young as age 11 in Baylor University’s Freedom Schools summer literacy program in Waco, Texas, were shown “Valentine Road: The Murder of Lawrence King,” an HBO documentary about 14-year-old Larry, who began wearing dresses, high heels, and make-up.
After Larry humiliated 15-year-old Brandon in front of his friends by asking him to be his valentine, Brandon shot Larry twice in the back of the head while in class.
The film would be troubling enough without the added controversial issue of transgenderism, especially for children still in the latency period.
Even the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educators Network (GLSEN) understands the disturbing nature of the film. GLISEN’s viewing guide, created in partnership with HBO, warns that several scenes are “quite graphic” and “may be upsetting to some viewers,” such as “disturbing crime scene and morgue photos, violence and painful testimony.” The film “tells the story in striking terms, reviving painful memories and calling us all to action,” the guide states. It is not known if the Baylor program uses the GLSEN guide, which also advises the presence of a mental health professional and to “provide an ample supply of tissues because some will cry.”
The literacy program purports to use “culturally relevant” books and meetings with community guests so the children can learn “how to be agents of change in their local areas.” One such book, “Give a Boy a Gun,” is a novel about two boys stealing a small arsenal of guns from a neighbor and taking their classmates hostage at a school dance.
Last year, students were used to protest proposed federal budget cuts.
This year, the children will be used for a Day of Social Action, which will focus on gun violence and awareness. I say “used” because young students do not have a very profound understanding of such complex issues.
The Freedom Schools’ program uses “Teaching Tolerance” materials from SPLC, an organization that says it focuses on “social injustice issues,” including “LGBT rights,” and emphasizes “anti-bias education in the areas of identity, diversity, justice and action.” Recently,
SPLC has been under fire due to allegations of bias and discrimination within its own operation.
The program is a project of the leftist Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) in partnership with the Baylor School of Education, Waco ISD, Transformation Waco, Prosper Waco, and the City of Waco.
The program uses pre-service teachers in the Baylor School of Education and is free to students, including field trips and meals. Transformation Waco, a nonprofit in-district partnership, was formed specifically to manage five chronically failing schools. Baylor’s founders must be turning over in the graves.
The executive director of Baylor’s Freedom Schools, Lakia M. Scott, Ph.D. , is an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the Baylor School of Education. According to Baylor’s website, her work focuses on social issues in education like equity, social justice, race, gender and social class.
Taxpayers are footing part of the bill for the “free” program held at J. H. Hines Elementary and Indian Springs Middle School for students who have completed 5th and 6th grades – $285 of the actual $1,500 cost ($62,700 total), plus transportation costs for seven field trips.
The latest data available from the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that only 18% of 8th grade students are at or above proficiency in U.S. History. Surely, Baylor could find more inspirational and uplifting curriculum that would result in more literate students concerning our country, instead of dark, inappropriate, and leftist-driven propaganda to prepare future activists for a political agenda.
BAYLOR FREEDOM SCHOOLS PROGRAM – FACT SHEET
Baylor Freedom Schools Program – a Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) seven-week summer literacy program in Waco, Texas in partnership with the Baylor School of Education, Waco ISD and Transformation Waco, Prosper Waco, and the City of Waco. Transformation Waco, in partnership with Waco ISD and Prosper Waco. manages five schools that were failing. (https://www.baylor.edu/soe/index.php?id=941828 )
Program Sites: J. H. Hines Elementary and Indian Springs Middle School
Executive Director: Lakia M. Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the Baylor School of Education. Her work focuses on social issues in education like equity, social justice, race, gender and social class, according to the Baylor University website. (https://www.baylor.edu/soe/index.php?id=935248 )
Objectionable and inappropriate materials and activities in the program:
“Valentine Road: The Murder of Lawrence King” was shown to 11-year-old children It is an HBO documentary about the murder of a middle-school student and the subsequent trial. Larry, 14, began wearing dresses, high heels, and make-up. Larry humiliated 15-year-old Brandon when he asked him to be his valentine in front of his friends. Within a day or two, Brandon shot Larry twice in the back of the head in a California public school classroom. Both boys had troubled backgrounds. “Valentine Road: The Murder of Lawrence King” can be viewed online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMk0FYcHiWk .
Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educators’ Network (GLSEN) viewing guide, created in partnership with HBO, (https://www.glsen.org/valentineroad/guide ) for the film includes a warning that several scenes are “quite graphic” and “may be upsetting to some viewers,” such as “disturbing crime scene and morgue photos, violence and painful testimony.” The film “tells the story in striking terms, reviving painful memories and calling us all to action,” the guide says. It suggests the film for high school students but warns that the “tragic stories of Larry and Brandon will be painful for some of your audience members to watch.” It is not known if the GLSEN guide was used when the film was shown to the elementary children in Waco. GLSEN provides lesson plans, including “LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum” (https://www.glsen.org/educate/resources/curriculum ) and “Bullying, Bias & Diversity.” https://d.docs.live.net/90cbf1c3ca6d45da/Documents/Bullying (https:/www.glsen.org/educate/resources/lesson-plans), Bias & Diversity (https://www.glsen.org/educate/resources/lesson-plans ).
The GLSEN guide provides instructions to warn viewers about the content; to “keep an eye out” for those who are “particularly impacted;” and, “to provide an ample supply of tissues because some will cry.” A mental health professional’s presence is encouraged.
“Give a Boy a Gun,” is a novel about two boys stealing a small arsenal of guns from a neighbor and taking their classmates hostage at a school dance.
Other materials in the program include:
“A Time for Justice: AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
“Selma: THE BRIDGE TO THE BALLOT”
“Starting Small: TEACHING TOLERANCE IN PRESCHOOL AND THE EARLY GRADES”
“Viva La Causa – The Story of Cesar Chavez and a Great Movement for Social Justice by TEACHING TOLERANCE”
Using Students to Protest. Two days of social action are planned in July. Last year, the students protested in downtown Waco against proposed federal budget cuts. This year, Freedom Schools students, called scholars, will participate in community service and create a project for the National Day of Social Action focusing on gun violence and awareness. https://blogs.baylor.edu/soe/2019/06/24/baylor-freedom-schools-helping-to-prevent-summer-learning-loss-in-waco-students-06-24-2019/ 
“Teaching Tolerance” materials from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization that focuses on issues of social injustice, including LGBT rights, and emphasizes social justice and anti-bias education in the areas of identity, diversity, justice and action. Teaching Tolerance provides free K-12 resources, including lessons, webinars, grants, podcasts, and policy guides. https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/the-southern-poverty-law-center-teaching-tolerance 
A report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) details a three-decade record of private and public misconduct on the part of the SPLC. A Journalist’s Guide to Understanding the Tactics of the SPLC examines dozens of investigative reports about the group over the past 30 years. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/fair-report-reveals-southern-poverty-law-center-scams-183800132.html 
Freedom Schools Theme: “I Can Make a Difference in Myself, My Family, My Community, My Country, and My World with Hope, Action and Education.” The program uses pre-service teachers in the Baylor School of Education and is free to students, including field trips and meals.
Background: CDF Freedom Schools model for K-12 students is rooted in the American Civil Rights Movement and the Mississippi Freedom Summer project of 1964. More than 150,000 children have participated in the CDF program, which has 182 program sites in the U.S.
Funding: Each campus is contributing $285 towards the actual $1,500-per-student fee and material costs. J.H. Hines Elementary School has a maximum contribution of $34,200 and Indian Spring Middle School is contributing $14,250 for a total of $48,450, plus transportation costs for seven field trips. Funds include Transformation Zone Implementation grant funds.
Other Texas CDF Freedom Schools sites in Austin, Beaumont, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Galveston, and Houston. https://cdftexas.org/programs/cdf-freedom-schools/#sites 
Baylor Freedom Schools Helping to Prevent Summer Learning Loss in Waco Students [06/24/2019] – https://blogs.baylor.edu/soe/2019/06/24/baylor-freedom-schools-helping-to-prevent-summer-learning-loss-in-waco-students-06-24-2019/ 
Baylor University – https://www.baylor.edu/soe/index.php?id=941828 
Transformation Waco approves management of five struggling schools https://www.kxxv.com/story/38516858/transformation-waco-approves-management-of-five-struggling-schools 
Transformation Waco approves management of five struggling schools –https://www.kxxv.com/story/38516858/transformation-waco-approves-management-of-five-struggling-schools 
CDF Freedom Schools –https://www.childrensdefense.org/programs/cdf-freedom-schools 
Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance Projecthttps://www.frc.org/issuebrief/southern-poverty-law-centers-teaching-tolerance-project 
About Teaching Tolerance – https://www.tolerance.org/about