California teacher calls parents and students in support of opening schools “white supremacists”

A California teacher’s comments earlier this week led to his school district making national news headlines after suggesting that parents pushing for the school to reopen were ‘white supremacists.’

Reportedly, Damian Harmony– John F. Kennedy High School’s Latin teacher– criticized local parents in a speech he gave to the school board, later posting a transcript of it on Facebook. In his speech, Harmony addressed the parents’ demands for the school district to reopen classrooms and allow the choice to continue online or in-person. In reaction to such demands, Harmony reportedly characterized the environment some of the parents’ demands were creating as “white supremacist,” angering many.

Harmony first addresses the parents’ concerns by noting he was a parent, too. However, after that, Harmony began to attack the parents’ demands and compare such demands to white supremacy, saying, “I’m especially grateful for what I heard from parents last week. Until then, the only way I could measure the level of white supremacy was through the Nextdoor app.” Damian later expanded on his comparison, claiming that the school’s parents were promoting an environment that was “pearl-clutching, faux-urgency, ableist, structurally white-supremacist, hysterical.” 

Harmony later moved from comparing the parents to white supremacists, now claiming the parents at John F. Kennedy High School treated the staff as waiters at a restaurant, saying, “This is not a country club. Our teachers are not the wait staff whom you callously and inhumanely disdain because they failed to anticipate that you wanted lime instead of lemon with your water when you walked in the door.” Expanding, Harmony focused on the teacher and parents’ relationships with the children, exclaiming, “This is a public service, aimed at educating your children so they grow up to be better than our generation.  You set that back by quite a bit.  And they’re watching.  Our children are watching as you make ablistic attacks on Board Member Pizzotti out of one side of your mouth, and pretend to care about children with special needs with the other.” Lastly, Harmony’s speech ended by castigating the behavior displayed by the parents, saying, “And there’s no need to deny it.  If you didn’t tacitly support such shameful behavior, you would’ve used your time to say so last week. I’m pretty goddamned done being polite and thinking there’s an acceptable middle ground on some topics. This isn’t one of them”

As of now, most California schools have remained closed for nearly 13 months. Instead of in-person classes, over this year-long period, most California children have attended online classes. However, recently, after the board meeting Harmony’s speech was given at, the Sacramento City Unified School District agreed to begin the process of reopening schools on April 8th. Additionally, the school district reported that the entire staff had been vaccinated. 





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