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Offer of cash prize for allegations against N.H. teachers draws rebuke

New Hampshire public school advocates and Gov. Chris Sununu are condemning a local chapter of a recently formed conservative group, Moms for Liberty, that has offered to pay people who “catch” teachers violating a new state law that limits certain kinds of teaching about racism and sexism.

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The post came after the state Department of Education created a new system to report allegations of teachers violating the law, which critics have said will chill classroom discussions on race and other issues.

In addition to providing a form for people to send to the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights, the Department of Education also directed people to send concerns about teacher conduct to a department employee. That employee’s email address has since been removed from the webpage.

On Twitter, the local chapter of Moms for Liberty posted about the new system and offered $500 dollars to anyone who catches a public school teacher violating the new law. The group, led by Free State Project activist Rachel Goldsmith, also asked people to donate to the prize. The group says if it does not find “concrete proof” of illegal activity, it will donate the money to literacy programs in Manchester.

The tweet has received national media attentionand drawn rebukes from teachers’ unions and public school advocates.

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire School Administrators’ Association laid blame on Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and Sununu, saying in a press release: “It is now up to Governor Sununu to resolve this issue. Until then, educators will work under a cloud of uncertainty that they will be reported to the state, triggering a sham investigation, all without evidence or transparency. That is not what parents want and not what professional educators deserve. Enough is enough.”

The Attorney General’s office released an FAQ on the law and how it might affect schools this summer.

Sununu’s office released the following statement on the matter:

“The Governor condemns the tweet referencing ‘bounties’ and any sort of financial incentive is wholly inappropriate and has no place. It should be noted that all filed complaints alleging discrimination on this website go to the Human Rights Commission for review — not the Department of Education.”

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.
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