Providence Anti-Critical Race Whistleblower Teacher Ramona Bessinger Taunted In Troubling Schoolyard Incident
After an administrative “pre-disciplinary hearing” that the Wall Street Journal has called a “pretext” to punish Bessinger for publicly criticizing the district’s Critical Race curriculum, Bessinger found herself isolated and surrounded in a circle by 10-12 male students who were taunting her.
Ramona Bessinger is the Providence, Rhode Island, middle school teacher who gained national attention by blowing the whistle on a racialized and radical Critical Race curriculum introduced a year ago. The hyper-focus on racial oppressor-oppressed narratives not only was poor pedagogy, it led to Bessinger being targeted by students and teachers because she is white, and by administrators because she went public with the information.
Bessinger detailed the curriculum and the retaliation in two posts at Legal Insurrection:
- I’m A Middle School Teacher And See How Critical Race Curriculum Is Creating Racial Hostility In School (July 13, 2021)
- Ramona Bessinger: I’m A Middle School Teacher Facing Retaliation After Blowing The Whistle On Critical Race Curriculum (October 3, 2021)
On October 5, 2021, just two days after Bessinger went public about the retaliation, the district served notice on her of possible disciplinary charges, asserted that she let students out of class on September 29, 2021, during an “instructional lockdown” (a lower-level lockdown than a “shelter in place” lockdown). The “pre-discipinary hearing” was scheduled for the morning of October 13.
As we documented, after that hearing notice was served, the Harassment Of Providence Anti-Critical Race Whistleblower Teacher Ramona Bessinger Intensified. On the afternoon of October 12, when Bessinger was not in school, someone put threatening and taunting messages on her classroom whiteboard that then were tweeted at her by unknown accounts:
The “pre-disciplinary hearing” was held on October 13, 2021. It was an inquisition in which Bessinger was berated by a senior Providence School Department “Human Resources” Officer. Bessinger denied letting the students out, though it’s possible a small number of students left the multi-door classroom without permission and in confusion after the school administration implemented a policy allowing students to leave classrooms without permission and during a lockdown when lunch and other bells rang.
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, in a powerful Editorial, called the lockdown claim a “pretext” to punish Bessinger:
The Providence Public School District hauled in Ramona Bessinger on Wednesday for a “pre-disciplinary administrative” hearing because she allegedly let students leave her classroom during a school lockdown related to a fight between a student and staff member. Ms. Bessinger, who has taught for 22 years, denies the charge.
Her real offense is chronicling the alarming effects of critical race theory on students and teachers….
The harassment by fellow teachers and administrative officials increased this year after some media outlets highlighted her story. Last month a union representative at a faculty meeting said teachers were circulating a petition against her. On Oct. 3 she filed an internal complaint about retaliation and a hostile working environment.
The district subsequently issued her a notice alleging that she violated protocols during a school lockdown and calling for a hearing. “These allegations create a legitimate concern that you may not and/or will not be able to perform your duties within the scope of your accountable employment with PPSD,” the letter says. “Please note appropriate disciplinary action” including termination may result.
The district would be unlikely to win a disciplinary case against Ms. Bessinger for opining online about critical race theory because the Supreme Court in Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) held that the First Amendment protects teachers from retaliation for speaking on matters of public concern. Hence, the district needed a pretext to target her.
After the October 13 hearing, Bessinger encountered a situation at school that she found troubling and unsettling.
She was in the schoolyard where students congregate during recess. All of the sudden she found herself isolated and surrounded in a circle by 10-12 male students who were taunting her with claims, some in question form, about whether she was racist: Are you a racist? and so on. She told them she was not racist and didn’t know why they would say such things.
She had to tell one of the students to back away from her and not to get so close. None of the students touched her during the incident.
One of the students held up his phone and referenced the tweets about what was written on her classroom whiteboard. Bessinger found the incident troubling at the time, and even more so in hindsight. Bessinger took two days off after the hearing and incident.
Bessinger has sent multiple emails and made multiple complaints to the district about this dangerous breakdown of order at the middle school created by the administration. Staff have screamed at her in front of others, including about her “white privilege,” and students have been turned against her apparently reacting to the staff and administrative hostility. According to Bessinger, her complaints and pleas for the district to provide protection for her have gone unanswered.
We will continue to follow this situation.
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This is what happens when the inmates run the asylum
I can imagine that there are plenty of students traumatized by this, who are in support of Ms. Bessinger and feeling terrible for her, while also feeling powerless to do anything because they fear being openly bullied and taunted themselves.
Pol Pot would be proud! Is it too late in the season to send Ramona out to harvest the cranberry crops?
It sounds like the students were coached in exactly how to act, what to say, what distance to be at.
Remember that: This was not spontaneous. It was planned, almost certainly by an adult.
This is absolutely outrageous that students and staff are not being disciplined.
Stay strong, Ms. Bessinger. Ultimately, their issues are not about you.
A small, easily hidden audio/video body camera is probably a very good idea for Ramona to wear.
This would probably get her real trouble as there may be policies against recording on school grounds
They sure know how to put her between a rock and a hard place.
They recorded in her classroom while she was away. And RI only requires one parties consent for legal recording, and that one party can be the recorder.
Find the students that surrounded her and threaten them with a felony assault charge.
They’ll sing like songbirds to get their ass out of trouble.
Y’all haven’t figured that out?
There is no honor among thieves.
Their asses aren’t in trouble today. Who’s going to arrest them and bring them in? And if some police/prosecutor actually had the temerity to do that, what do you think would happen to her/him?
Yes, the kids were coached, as Irv suggests. Likely another teacher did the coaching. But good luck trying to prove it.
Then suggest an alternative.
She now has plenty of grounds for a “hostile workplace” action.
Yes, probably better for her to let it all build, especially as these people are so sloppy.
Pit them against each other.
The “surrounders” were told to do that ….”hey kids, bullying is bad and not allowed, unless we tell you to. Wanna do some bullying?”
If this continues unchecked, we’ll end up like South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Based on the comments on the white board, many of the folks in the school (other teachers or just students) haven’t learned basic English.
Even the dimmest parents are now aware that the public school system is a toxic cesspool beyond all hope of remediation. Stop appealing to school boards and start vetting private and religious schools for enrollment. Make any financial sacrifice necessary to make it happen.
And now the next step is to hire a lawyer or lawyer(s) and file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the school district for failing to provide a safe work environment.
Middle school students can be vicious and easily manipulated. Most of the ringleaders will stand back to let their minions do the dirty work.
The vile Dhimmi-crats have gleefully brought Maoist and Stalinist intimidation, violence and vilification tactics to our contemporary society and civics, in order to attack, punish and intimidate dissenters from expressing criticism and opinions. This is what the vile Dhimmi-crats and their tactics have clearly wrought.
Any person who supports the Dhimmi-crats is now openly supporting totalitarian thuggery and tactics.
The best thing she could do is return to the classroom and see how this plays out. The bullying and intimidation appear limited to implied threats at this point with no physical component. Document and report each episode to both school officials and LEO if applicable with copies to her attorney. These episodes are a pattern of conduct designed to break her will. A few more episodes and she has enough to sustain a suit to jury verdict. The moment she feels a shift in the tenor an episode as the energy of it transitions to the likely hood of violence v the potential she needs to call 911 and retreat to a safe location.
Posted this to my FB – my caption:
“Turning our kids into “good little Red Octoberists”
Surrounded by 10-12 boys who were openly taunting her and terrifying her. These kids should be suspended.”
Wondering if she had the presence of mind to take out her phone and start videoing her tormenters.
Fully agree. I also go as far as they would need intervention as they would if in a cult. That 10 – 12 did it shows Leftist Seminaries are doing very well brainwashing kids.
Just a few years ago Johns Hopkins assessed the Providence school district. Their findings are here: http://www.schoolinfosystem.org/pdf/2019/06/PPSD-REVISED-FINAL-002.pdf
Roger Williams wouldn’t recognize the cesspool that was once the cradle of religious freedom.
Thanks, WestRock, for linking that report. It confirms the worst suspicions about the incompetence of the administrators in the Providence schools.
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If you are waiting for someone to tell you what to do, you are wasting everyone’s time. Figure out who you are and commit to your values no matter what. Don’t worry about the consequences of being your own person thinking for yourself. If you are confused, it is because you don’t have the clarity that comes from the conviction of your beliefs.
Personally, I am tired of these threads where everything comes down to petty politics in an avalanche of what amounts to a lot of mostly pointless legal baffle gab. I am standing my ground and don’t want to debate it anymore. This video tells you everything you need to know to live a life well-lived. Be a believer. Be a doer. Never apologize for refusing to be a slave. Never give up.
“Instructional lockdown”? Is that what they’re calling normal class hours now?
“Yo” for “yours.” No use of the verb “to be.” One student doesn’t even know how to write a lowercase “d”. Such vibrant and authentic use of the English language. Looking good, public education!
“All of the sudden she found herself isolated and surrounded…”
Correct usage is “a” not “the”–“all of a sudden”. As a high school English teacher, I am fighting a (probably losing) battle against this creeping change in the language.
We have few enough competent teachers. It’s a shame the flock has to peck to death one who is trying to prevent the school system from destroying itself and the students it is supposedly serving.
This incident proves that she is correct in everything that she is asserting.