A “woke” middle-school teacher in Oregon equated teachers who aren’t actively “anti-racist” with pedophiles in a bizarre rant — and said they should be fired, according to newly surfaced video.
Katherine Watkins, who teaches eighth-grade humanities at the Cedar Park Middle School outside Portland, made the extreme comparison during a Zoom “equity conference’’ call with her peers.
“I’m going to say something that’s not nice and not sweet, but it’s true,” the Beaverton School District instructor said in footage posted by the conservative national advocacy group Parents Defending Education.
“If you’re not evolving into an anti-racist educator, you’re making yourself obsolete in this field of profession,” Watkins then lectured.
“Our district is only getting browner and browner with our children, and so obviously, you can’t change your melanin, all right? But you can change your mind so that you can actually function in a district that is full of BIPOC [black, indigenous and people of color] children,” she continued in the February virtual call that surfaced online late last month.
“So if you’re being resistant, I understand that, but you’re going to have to eventually come to the light.”
Watkins — who identifies as half-African American and told a local outlet last year she has a black son — then went on to say that educators who don’t agree with her views on race should be fired.
“Because if you’re going to keep with those old views of colonialism, it’s going to lead to being fired because you’re going to be doing damage to our children, trauma,” she said.
“And so, as we fire the teachers who sexually abuse our children, we will be firing the teachers who do racist things to our children and traumatize them.
“It’s just a matter of time. So it’s like you either evolve or dissolve.”
The teacher’s Facebook profile photo shows her posing in front of a Black Lives Matter logo featuring a raised clenched fist. Right under the image, she lists links to send her money through cash.app, PayPal and Venmo — although it’s unclear what the dough would be for.
She set up a fundraiser in June 2020 for a local “nonprofit” “human rights” group called Exit the Maze in which 13 people donated a total of $655 toward her $5,000 goal before she ended the campaign.
Watkins’ fiery comments came as another local educator, Stephanie Yelder, said in the call that white people must stand up against racism — and channel the same fervor in doing so as the Capitol rioters, according to Fox News.
Five people died amid the January 6 insurrection over the 2020 presidential election results.
“My lovely white people,” Yelder said during the virtual equity conference.
“Be as bold as those idiot invaders, insurrectionists about storming that Capitol,” she said. “Go about this change like them.
“They are wacky, but you know what to do, so have that same energy.”
But detractors were swift to hit back at both educators — blasting them as the racist ones.
“The voice of black supremacism,” one person responded to Watkins’ clip on YouTube.
“‘Either you evolve, or dissolve,’ is code for ‘Either you step in line with the views we are spouting, or we’ll take you out of the equation,’” another critic seethed.
A third person added, “I am passionately opposed to any form of discrimination, including bigotry toward those who hold conservative beliefs, and, any form of racism.
“That said, this woman’s approach is perfect for increasing the enrollment of private and parochial schools that are not forced by the government to participate in this racist behavior that she is advocating.”
The Beaverton School District appeared to try to distance itself from the teachers in a statement to Fox News last month when the video first appeared online.
“Katherine Watkins does not speak for the Beaverton School District. She has no official role in the equity efforts of the district,” the statement read.
“All disciplinary or dismissal procedures are governed by state statute and our collective bargaining agreements with our unions, Beaverton Education Association (BEA) and Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA).”
As for Yelder, a district rep added, “Stephanie Yelder was not speaking for the district; she was expressing her own opinions.
“The district does not condone the use of violence or destruction of property under any circumstances.”
But the same district spokeswoman, Shellie Bailey-Shah, appeared to also defend Watkins to Newsweek.
“In the comments, we hear Ms. Watkins expressing her expectation that all our educators authentically engage in anti-bias, antiracist work for the benefit of our students,” the district rep said.
“Throughout this past year, institutions have been called upon to re-evaluate their role in the perpetuation of implicit bias and systemic racism. The Beaverton School District is no exception. It’s our responsibility to identify and change inequitable practices that harm our students and staff of color.”