Peoria Teacher: Elementary Students Wear Trans Pride Colors for Trans Visibility Day

Peoria Teacher: Elementary Students Wear Trans Pride Colors for Trans Visibility Day

By Corinne Murdock |

According to one Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) teacher, some elementary schoolers may have worn pink, teal, and white to honor International Transgender Day of Visibility last week. 

Coordinating educator Sarah Chunnui, a “resource teacher” for fourth and fifth graders and special education teacher at Desert Harbor Elementary School, submitted an email obtained by AZ Free News to notify staff of the unofficial holiday on March 31. A PUSD spokesperson told AZ Free News in a statement that Chunnui’s email didn’t receive approval from the Desert Harbor Elementary School principal, Becky Berhow, prior to its sending. PUSD added that Chunnui’s email didn’t say explicitly that she coordinated with students, but didn’t dismiss speculation that Chunnui may have undertaken coordination efforts.

“Hello Fabulous Staff,” began the email. “I just wanted to let you know that you may see our students wearing more pink, teal, and white today. Today is a quickly growing annual event called ‘International Transgender Day of Visibility.’ Our President is expected to make some announcements today on new legislature [sic] to protect the rights of Trans [sic] students, any [sic] many of our students have taken a keen interest in these legislative movements.”

Chunnui closed the email by encouraging staff to affirm the children of their activism.

“How can you help? If you notice a student purposefully wearing the colors of the trans flag, a simple ‘I see you’ or ‘I support you’ can go a long way. Thank you fabulous staff!” 

In the signature line, Chunnui ensured to include her pronouns: “she/her” and “they/them.” She also goes by “Mx,” a title invented by LGBTQ+ activists signifying a “gender-neutral” individual who doesn’t identify as any sex. 

In a response email submitted to the Desert Harbor Elementary School community, Berhow clarified that only staff received the email — not parents. Berhow characterized the email as Chunnui’s “personal views.”

“Today you may see a screenshot on social media of an email that was recently sent by one of our staff members regarding personal views on International Transgender Day of Visibility.  While the message may get increased attention in our community, it was important to me that you know that the email was only sent to our staff and not to students or parents,” wrote Berhow. “At Desert Harbor, we pride ourselves on using our limited resources to directly support teaching and learning. Please know that not all messages you see posted are a representation of our school or district.” 

Berhow encouraged parents to communicate with her and reach out with any questions on any matter. 

State Senator Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) told AZ Free News that this was another example of improper educator behavior.

“No level of sexuality or lifestyle should be pushed onto little children. I don’t care if they are pushing for heterosexuality. Leave our kids alone. Teach them math, reading, and science,” said Petersen. “These actions are completely inappropriate as someone who is in a position of trust with our children.” 

Previously, Chunnui was a resource teacher for kindergarteners to second grade students at Rogers Ranch School in Laveen School District, where Minority Leader Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) hails from. Chunnui joined Desert Harbor Elementary School in August 2019; she has been teaching for over 10 years. 

AZ Free News reached out to Desert Harbor Elementary School and PUSD for comment.

In February, Chunnui hosted a read-aloud for Desert Harbor Elementary School, in which she read a book championed by left-wing activists as a destructor of gender norms: “Pink is For Boys.”

PUSD does have Gay-Straight Alliance, also known as Gender-Sexuality Alliance, (GSA) clubs at Sunrise Mountain High School, Ironwood High School, and Raymond S. Kellis High School. GSA clubs are the product of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national organization focused on the sexuality of minors — specifically, promoting and normalizing LGBTQ+ lifestyles. The Phoenix chapter of GLSEN advised K-12 educators last December to incorporate “secret libraries” in their classrooms to advance LGBTQ+ ideology. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Former Superintendent Calls For Peoria School District Leaders Apology To Parents

Former Superintendent Calls For Peoria School District Leaders Apology To Parents

By Terri Jo Neff |

An insulting comment emailed from the principal of a Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) elementary school to another employee in which she called some parents “whackos” and criticized the district board’s handling of a meeting has been called out by a former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Diane Douglas called on PUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Reynolds to publicly address “the overt and covert contempt which has been and continues to be expressed towards the community” by Tonja Neve, who is principal of the Desert Valley Elementary School in Glendale until June 30.

“That board meeting was ridiculous,” Neve wrote on Feb. 1 to Jennifer Mundy, an administrator of another district school. “”I’m sick of us giving these whackos a platform to spread propaganda without making any correction statements.”  Neve was referring to about one dozen parents who addressed the board about Critical Race Theory.

Another email between Neve and Mundy that day shows the principal believed the administration “has some control to quiet those pushy voices.” She also provided information about a court case which reinforced the power of principals to set boundaries in parent-school communication.

Douglas directed her comments at Reynolds in an opinion published last week in the American Daily Independent. But she was not merely relying on her experience  from 2015 to 2018 in a state executive office where she was responsible for ensuring the accurate and lawful distribution of nearly $6 billion in education funding.

In her comments, Douglas points out she has an even bigger reason for speaking up, having been elected as a member of the PUSD board from 2005 to 2012, serving as board president in 2008 and 2009.

Douglas’ letter was prompted by PUSD’s release of some of Neve’s emails in response to a public records request. There was also the fact the school’s American flag was displayed inverted on June 14 – Flag Day.

“As if an employee of a government school, funded by taxpayer dollars, referring to the parents and citizens who pay her salary as ‘whackos’ was not bad enough, now there is the displaying of an inverted American flag,” Douglas noted to Reynolds. “Such utter disrespect to our country and the very citizens she is hired to serve would be disgraceful on any day. But that such a stunt occurred on June 14th Flag Day –the day we honor and commemorate the adoption of the American Flag– makes it all the more inexcusable and unforgivable.”

Douglas added that “the only saving grace is that school is out of session and the students weren’t witness to such blatant disrespect of our flag by an entity of the very government it represents.”

Neve’s contract with PUSD expires June 30 after which she will move her family to take a principal position at an elementary school in New Hampshire. Earlier this month she issued a statement about her emails.

“My comments were unprofessional and I apologize for that,” Neve said. “My comments were in regards to audience members who were coming to our board and calling teachers out by name and misconstruing and devaluing the hard work they do. My comment was made in the heat of the moment and in defense of my profession and colleagues.”

But Neve’s departure should not be the end of issue, Douglas told Reynolds.

“With all due respect, in my humble opinion, the Board and the PUSD community are entitled to an explanation as to how administration intends to handle such incidents of disrespect toward the community going forward,” she wrote.

Peoria Teachers Bribed With Amazon Gift Cards To Indoctrinate Students In Online Social Justice Curriculum

Peoria Teachers Bribed With Amazon Gift Cards To Indoctrinate Students In Online Social Justice Curriculum

By Corinne Murdock |

An online social justice curriculum funded by Big Tech giants, EverFi, promised $15 gift cards to teachers who successfully got other teachers to start their students on one lesson.

According to an email obtained by the AZ Free News, Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) teachers were incentivized with $15 Amazon gift cards by an EverFi director of K-12 implementation. One of EverFi’s foremost contributors is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos through his investment company, Bezos Expeditions.

“As a thank you, earn a $15 Amazon gift card for every teacher you refer who gets students started on one EVERFI lesson – just click the Invite a Teacher button (terms) I’m here for you – schedule a time with me to support you and/or your students,” read the email.

[pdf-embedder url=”http://azfreenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/everfi.pdf”]

PUSD has incorporated EverFi for years, according to staffers.

Key resources highlighted on EverFi’s website focus on social-emotional learning, an offshoot of critical race theory (CRT); health care equity; and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).


https://twitter.com/EVERFI/status/1392232687692288000

Curriculum obtained by AZ Free News showed that EverFi lesson plans included the histories of Juneteenth and affirmative action, assertion of systemic racism, and the promotion of equity instead of equality.

Last September, EverFi committed $100 million to expanding their social injustice and economic inequity lenses within their K-12 education curriculum. [RELATED: EVERFI Announces $100 Million Commitment to Address Systemic Social Injustice and Economic Inequity through Free Digital Education for Nation’s K-12 Schools]

EverFi is advertised as free for K-12 teachers. The company reportedly offsets the cost through national and regional partners.

PUSD staffers confirmed that although the district has used EverFi for around a decade, educators use it sporadically. In an email obtained by AZ Free News, Executive Director of K-12 Curriculum & Professional Development Marla Hobbs claimed that few teachers utilize Everfi. She added that those who do use the resource use it on odd occasions.

EverFi was founded in 2008, with a focus on obtaining major corporate sponsors to fund their educational initiatives.

Now, over a decade later, they have accomplished just that. Some of their noteworthy contributors over the years include Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO; Evan Williams, founder of Twitter, Medium, and Blogger; and Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman.

Other big businesses also have their hands in Arizona’s public education. Companies like Boeing and Wells Fargo are part of the Arizona Educational Foundation Board, an initiative focused on bringing social justice to classrooms. The Arizona Educational Foundation has pushed a program called “Our World,” which aims to provide educator and business training and workshops on antiracism, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Much like EverFi, Our World is free of charge to Arizona schools.

Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to corinnejournalist@gmail.com.