- Parents rallied at the Scottsdale Unified School Board meeting in Arizona on Tuesday to call for the firing of the district’s superintendent who discussed racial identity in a resurfaced interview from 2019, the parents told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- “There’s a misperception that educational equity is really only for ethnically and racially diverse districts. But white people have racial identity as well, and in fact problematic racial identity that we typically avoid,” Scott Menzel, Scottsdale Unified School District superintendent, said in an interview.
- “Menzel’s recently resurfaced comments by Fox News that ‘meritocracy is a lie’ and that white people have a ‘problematic racial identity’ have been a tipping point in the call for his removal,” Jill Dunican, a Scottsdale Unified School District parent and member of Scottsdale Unites for Educational Integrity, told the DCNF.
Arizona parents are calling for the firing of a superintendent who spoke on racial identity in a resurfaced interview, the parents told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Scottsdale Unites for Educational Integrity (SUEI), a coalition of parents fighting for transparency within the district, protested at the Scottsdale Unified School Board meeting on Tuesday demanding the resignation of Superintendent Scott Menzel who said white people’s “racial identity” is “problematic” in a recently resurfaced interview from 2019, the parents told the DCNF. Menzel’s leadership has led to other initiatives that the parents oppose, such as a transgender policy which helps hide students’ gender transitions, the parents told the DCNF.
“At every turn, SUSD under Menzel’s leadership has worked to suppress information via several methods including denial of public records requests, verbal attacks of parents who question curriculum and updated policies that make it nearly impossible for parents to volunteer or access their child’s classrooms,” Jill Dunican, a Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) parent and member of SUEI, told the DCNF. “Menzel’s recently resurfaced comments by Fox News that ‘meritocracy is a lie’ and that white people have a ‘problematic racial identity’ have been a tipping point in the call for his removal.”
Menzel, previously called a “champion of change” by the Obama Administration, discussed social justice and equity in a 2019 interview with the Torchlight while he was superintendent of a Michigan school district, according to Fox News Digital. In the interview, Menzel endorsed “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, a book that “illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility.”
“There’s a misperception that educational equity is really only for ethnically and racially diverse districts,” Menzel said in the interview. “But white people have racial identity as well, and in fact problematic racial identity that we typically avoid.”
“So thinking about how hard can we push on the system without a collapse that disrupts the progress of the entire work and sets us back 20 years, that’s a question we don’t talk about often enough in my mind. But also calling out the question of privilege. White people, Robin DiAngelo’s book ‘White Fragility’ calls it straight up,” Menzel continued.
Since the interview resurfaced, three Arizona state legislators called for the “immediate removal” of Menzel if he chooses not to resign, according to the Scottsdale Progress.
Parents also protested the school district’s transgender support plan which allegedly does not require parental consent in order for a student to change their name and pronouns, according to the Arizona Independent News Network.
Policies within the district, such as the transgender support plan, are a result of Menzel’s leadership, Shiry Sapir, a SUSD parent, told the DCNF.
“These are the kinds of things that Menzel is overseeing in the district,” Sapir told the DCNF. “To me, that’s even worse than the equity stuff because this is really the school overriding parents on this. I want to know how many kids are on that support plan. Who knows about it? Why is it confidential? Who approved that district form? What are the policies that are associated with this? It’s overwhelming for parents because the policies that [the school district] is rolling up are such a disaster.”
It’s time for Dr. Menzel to leave. SUSD citizens must peacefully show their support. AZWOA has many tweets about @ScottsdaleUSD. Why? Because of an endless stream of inappropriate, questionable, disturbing matters that concerned citizens have uncovered. Here are some of our posts https://t.co/nSHEd99ivX pic.twitter.com/rM6DuX43EL
— Arizona Women of Action (@azwomenofaction) February 1, 2023
Other parents rallied in support of Menzel as superintendent at the school board meeting on Tuesday, 12 News reported.
“I care deeply about public schools. When we found Menzel [in 2020] we were all so thrilled,” Shea Najafi, a SUSD parent leading the support for Menzel, told the outlet. “I have many friends who work in the district. They say he is excellent with the students, excellent with staff and with the community at large.”
If Menzel does not want to resign from his position, then the parents want to collaborate with the administration to change policies within the school district, Sapir told the DCNF.
“That’s all we said: Dr. Menzel, you don’t want to be fired, you don’t want us to call for your firing,” Sapir told the DCNF. “How about sitting down and appeasing us and stopping your policies of social justice and all of this wokeness and go back to academics. Just go back to showing us how well you can teach our kids.”
Menzel and the Scottsdale Unified School Board did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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