A Sartell-St. Stephen fourth-grade student shared at the board meeting on Monday that her teacher told her to never repeat the questions found on a mandatory equity survey to her parents. Haylee Yasgar explained that this took place while she was distance learning from home. The “Equity Survey” was distributed virtually to the fourth graders, where they were forced to take it and told to answer all the questions.
Haylee spoke at the Sartell-St. Stephen school board meeting and told the school board how uncomfortable her teacher’s request made her feel. In a video clip obtained by The Minnesota Sun, Haylee Yasgar said, “My teacher said that I could not skip any questions even when I didn’t understand.” Haylee shared that when another student in her class asked if he could ask his mom to explain a question regarding what gender he identified with, the teacher would not allow it. Haylee said that being asked to hide the questions from her mom made her feel “uncomfortable, like I was doing something wrong.”
Haylee’s mother, Kelsey Yasgar said in a comment to The Sun that the whole situation was upsetting to her. “Asking my fourth-grader what gender she identifies with raises several concerns in my eyes. For starters, I do not believe politics have a place within our school district, and I do not think my daughter’s 4th-grade teacher has the right to explain a question like this without my approval. I have instructed my daughter from a young age that if she’s ever in trouble or needs to speak to an adult, that she can always trust her teachers at school. What do I tell my daughter now, when these are the same people who are instructing her to lie and hide things from me? And it also poses the question, what else are you hiding from us?”
Kelsey Yasgar said that she would encourage parents to “stay engaged and involved with their children’s education, because there is a huge shift in this country happening from education to indoctrination.” She said that knowing that her child’s teacher told her to hide things from her made her feel “complete disregard and disrespect” from the teacher. She also said that she worried that this was happening to other children and parents, which is why she and her daughter spoke out.
Kelsey Yasgar also shared that a woman responded to her daughter’s experience and said, “I’m sorry to the little girl that felt uncomfortable being asked about her gender, but sometimes we need to talk about uncomfortable things.”
Another mother in the private Concerned Parents and Community of ISD748 Facebook group commented on the posted video of Haylee saying, “After listening to this, I decided to ask my son (going into 5th) about the survey. He also said they were told to not tell their parents.” She also said that her son’s teacher is amazing, and said “I do not believe the teachers are the ones to take blame. I believe they were doing what they were directed.”
The Sartell-St. Stephen school district did not immediately respond to The Sun’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to view the questions asked in the “Equity Survey.”
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]