The Bourne School Committee Channels the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 – Attacks MacRae’s Dissenting View


Atty. Robert Snider
Boston Broadside Writer
Former Suffolk County
Assistant District Attorney

I attended a hearing of the Bourne School Committee (BSC) on September 22, 2021, held to consider a complaint filed against an elected member of the committee, Kari MacRae, on the grounds that she is anti-LGBTQ. An orchestrated parade of speakers alleged emotionally that Mrs. MacRae’s campaign platform expressed on social media made LGBTQ students feel “unsafe,” even though a reading of her statements does not support the charges and there are no facts supporting the allegation that anyone could reasonably feel unsafe from the statements.

When MacRae defended her anti-Critical Race Theory position against attacks, Chairman Emily G. Berry and Vice Chair Paul McMaster angrily dismissed any mention of CRT at the hearing, asserting stridently that CRT is irrelevant because CRT is not taught in Bourne. Mr. McMaster also denied that there was a political motive at play, but his statements and tone proved the opposite is true.

The irrational campaign against MacRae may be understood psychologically as best explained by Elias Canetti in “Crowds and Power,” a work of genius. In summary, lonely people need the safety of crowds and, once the crowd attains a mass, it seeks out non-believers and attacks them, or “cancels” them to attain a utopian pure virtue as defined by the crowd. There are many examples but for our purposes the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 suffices.

The orchestrated campaign against Mrs. MacRae is really the opening act into the formal further insertion of CRT into Bourne. The lie that CRT is not taught in Bourne is confirmed by a review of its website and ongoing plans to introduce CRT into professional teacher training. Even the claims against Mrs. MacRae are made using the woke vocabulary of CRT.

Because similar CRT programs across America are being imposed and parents are loudly objecting, the BSC is seeking to slip CRT doctrine into Bourne schools quietly while not labeling it as such. As in other states, a program of suppressing speech to intimidate opponents is undertaken. Fear of being labeled a racist and losing one’s job is widely effective. Mrs. MacRae lost her teaching job in Hanover because of the complaint. Speech suppression starts at the top with U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s misuse of the Patriot Act, enacted to prosecute 9/11 terrorists, against parents in local meetings outside federal jurisdiction.

The CRT program, arising from the same Marxist theorists of Black Lives Matter, includes.

a.) The 1619 Project promoted by the New York Times that re-writes American history.

b.) “Educational justice” that has resulted in the trashing of advanced high school programs in Boston and others that required merit-based entrance exams.

c.) That all news statements are assertions of power that must be critically questioned by asking who benefits economically and not whether the statement is true.

d.) Diversity, equity and inclusion programs teaching that racial identity is paramount, America is systemically racist, and whites benefit from and are guilty of “white supremacy.”

The BSC has an “Inclusion and Equity Committee.” Its mission statement is posted on the BSC website and states the CRT (d.) program above. The committee will promote equity, which means equal outcomes not equal opportunity. It assumes that there are “systemic biases in policies and practices” and it will ensure that “inclusion and equity is a central part of our school committee” thereby making race consciousness the primary goal.

The BSC is planning on hiring a consultant for the professional training of teachers. The consultants being considered have CRT programs. For instance, among the items that the written proposal for Black Print states is that it will examine “Critical Race Theory in the Visual Arts,” “Emancipatory–Socio-political and racial consciousness” as part of “Critical Pedagogy” and  how “traditional” grading perpetuates “inequity” in schools. The introduction to “strategies to identify and mobilize the individuals … and systems in one’s community in order to promote and pursue equity in one’s organization” expressly means that students will be taught to be CRT activists.

So that a reasoned response may be drafted to counter their assaults, we must understand the political and psychological bases for their campaign against Mrs. MacRae.

Kari McRae is an upbeat, energetic mother of three children, a boy and two girls. She has taught mathematics and business in four southeastern Massachusetts school systems. That she was trusted to handle difficult and diverse classrooms is evidenced by her teaching alternative classes at night. Mrs. MacRae’s loving nature encompasses everyone and includes her foster daughter, Nia, now 21, of Dominican background who had emotional issues with sexuality. Nia was a student in one of the alternative classes. Nia has lived with MacRae’s family for six years and is considered a true family member.

Based on in-person conversations, Mrs. MacRae is just the kind of teacher I would trust to teach students of varied backgrounds, including those who grapple with their sexuality. Her bright sense of humor is significant because it tells us that she has a grounded sense of proportion.

So, why is she the object of the hatred of the woke school establishment of Bourne? Because she fits the role of the woke narrative. She is a white woman Christian who set herself apart by voting against the school mask mandate. She campaigned on an anti-CRT platform. She argues that we should not evaluate people primarily on their race, but on the content of their character.

She is against indoctrinating students that their gender may be changed and that biological boys who identify as girls should not be permitted to compete against girls in sports. She is against the re-writing of American history as touted by the 1619 Project of the New York Times. She does not agree to call people by recently invented pronouns. She fits the woke narrative of the villain to be smeared and bullied for the easy gathering of virtue points.

The comparison to the Salem Witch Trials is valid. The complaints from both were filed by young girls against women, contemporaneous with an epidemic – smallpox and covid. In 1692 the prevailing atmosphere was dominated by a rigid Puritanism that took the existence of Satan for granted. The BSC and its supporters are consumed by allegiance to CRT which sees all non-believers as racist bigots in thrall to Donald Trump.

In Salem, guilt of possession by Satan was proven by “spectral evidence,” e.g., testimony by the girls of bad dreams. The woke complain that Mrs. MacRae’s social media statements made all members of the LGBTQ community feel “unsafe.” Just as there were secular scores settled in Salem, the political motives at play in Bourne are obvious. Force her resignation, silence her, and intimidate all teachers and parents into silence.

The dangers presented in Bourne must be faced now with courage to match that shown by Mrs. MacRae. The serious constitutional and legal principles at play, which the BSC ignores, will be dealt with next month.  ♦

One Reply to “The Bourne School Committee Channels the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 – Attacks MacRae’s Dissenting View

  1. A very one-sided fabrication. This is not about a “witch trial”, it’s about a “witch hunt” trying to find CRT where it’s not being applied. The issue that the Bourne School Committee was faced with was that the Social Media posts in question weren’t just conservative, which is acceptable, but, that they crossed the line into hate speech against transgender individuals. One of the meme’s posted was a picture of Dr Rachel Levine, US Assistant Secretary of HHS, a transgender individual, and referred to her as “ an obese man who thinks he is a woman”. As a school system with students who are transgender, having a member of the governing school board post such memes on social media created an environment where over most vulnerable students felt unsafe. While there are members of the School Committee who called for Ms. MacRae’s resignation, the bigger challenge was to ensure that all members of the school community to feel safe. Everyone from those most liberal to those most conservative have every right to their opinions and free speech. But, when the expression of those rights cause concern and fear in others, there can be repercussions against what was expressed. This is the story of what happened in Bourne. All children in the school system deserve to feel safe, welcome and accepted in the school environment.

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