Judicial Watch Demands Providence (RI) Schools Cease and Desist “Retaliation and Harassment” Of Ramona Bessinger
On day of organized protest against Bessinger at school, JW writes to Superintendent: “Ms. Bessinger has been subjected to a continuing campaign of retaliation and harassment related to her protected First Amendment expression,” we call on district to “immediately put an end to the inappropriate and unlawful campaign of harassment against Ms. Bessinger.”
As previously mentioned, Providence (RI) whistleblower teacher Ramona Bessinger has been subjected to increasing attacks at Classical High School in Providence, including a protest against her today which Bessinger asserts was assisted by other teachers. This is the culmination of over a year of retaliation and harassment after Bessinger blew the whistle in July 2021, I’m A Middle School Teacher And See How Critical Race Curriculum Is Creating Racial Hostility In School.
The exposure gained Bessinger widespread national and international media coverage.
We covered the latest development of an organized protest against her in Whistleblower Providence (RI) Teacher Ramona Bessinger Under Attack Again, Teachers Helping Organize Student Protest Against Her:
Some students at Classical are organizing a walk-out and protest against her, aided she has learned by teachers at Classical and her former middle school. Bessinger has provided the names of those teachers to her principal and other administrators and teachers union officials, asking whether it was appropriate for teachers to be organizing students against another teacher.
The protest took place today. While very intimidating to have such an organize event at your workplace, the protest and walkout was a flop. Only about 40-50 students participating according to someone who was present. Several teachers and administrators observed.
Contrary to the advice organizers gave student, it does not appear that students covered their faces to avoid identification. That makes sense, since the administration and at least some teachers support the students.
These photos were posted on Twitter, and inaccurately claims there were 130 students, but the photos show otherwise:
Over 130 high school students walk out of Classical High School to protest the continued employment of teacher Ramona Bessinger, whose extremist views, students say, threaten their safety. @UpriseRI pic.twitter.com/icF3rSGIyt
— Steve Ahlquist (@steveahlquist) September 30, 2022
The Providence school district still has not responded to our request for comment. It does not appear it has issued any statement in defense of Bessinger’s right to express her viewpoints on matters of social and political importance in her private life.
If the students acted spontaneously, perhaps the school officials could take the position that they should just stay out of it. But that is not what is happening according to Bessenger.
Bessenger is represented by Judicial Watch (which she wrote about in a prior post at Legal Insurrection), which sent a Letter this morning to the Superintendent of Providence Schools, demanding an end to the school-sanctions harassment of Bessinger (emphasis added):
Dear Superintendent Montanez:
We represent Ramona Bessinger, a 24-year veteran teacher at Classical High School. As you may be aware, Ms. Bessinger has spoken out publicly regarding her concerns about the current curriculum in Providence Public Schools. As a result, Ms. Bessinger has been subjected to a continuing campaign of retaliation and harassment related to her protected First Amendment expression. Among these actions against Ms. Bessinger was her being involuntarily transferred last year and left to sit in a school basement without any duties for nine months. After Ms. Bessinger grieved this wholly inappropriate action and an arbitration was scheduled, PPSD reversed its position without explanation, and finally restored Ms. Bessinger to the classroom.
The harassment and retaliation against Ms. Bessinger, however, has not ceased. As you may be aware, it has now culminated with a planned teacher/student protest of Ms. Bessinger scheduled for today at noon. The principal and other administrators at Classical High School apparently have endorsed this action against one of their own teachers. As a result, because of this school endorsement of the retaliation/harassment campaign against Ms. Bessinger, the threats and vitriol against her have only escalated, including at least one death threat.
We ask that you immediately put an end to the inappropriate and unlawful campaign of harassment against Ms. Bessinger. Ms. Bessinger seeks only to continue teaching students as she has done exceptionally well for many years. If this pattern of abuse against Ms. Bessinger continues, we will be forced to explore all legal options.
This could be setting up a significant 1st Amendment fight.
I’m sure there will be more to come.DONATE
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