It has come to our attention that a member of the Nashua Board of Education, Ms. Doris Hohensee, is using a white supremacist’s quotation on her social media page, (she posted it on April 29th, and we believe she has not taken it down as of yet), which rails against what the white supremacist calls “Natural Equality”, because it is what he describes as “a pernicious delusion based on emotion over reason”, which he then claims leads to socialism. Ms. Hohensee goes on in a comment to her own post, and on other social media posts and websites, to say publicly that Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is emotion over reason, insinuating that SEL is linked to socialism and an indoctrinating influence on our students in public schools. We believe this to be an ill-informed attempt to discredit SEL.
Some individuals have come to Ms. Hohensee’s defense claiming they have also used other white supremacist quotes at a Holocaust memorial. There is an important difference; the quotes at memorials are used to demonstrate the heinousness of the words and author, but Ms. Hohensee is asking the reader to accept the white supremacist’s thesis that emotion over reason leads to socialism, potentially elevating the author and his work to a level of academia. This is the wrong example to set for the students in our public school district, to utilize the words of a white supremacist in this way.
Ms. Hohensee’s attempt to discredit Social and Emotional Learning utilizing a white supremacist’s work undermines the academic integrity of the Nashua public school district as well as undermining the hard work of the professional educators in our district, who are researching academically sound methods to improve the social and emotional well-being of students and improving classroom environments. It demonstrates that Ms. Hohensee is unfit for elected office on the Nashua Board of Education.
In addition, on a different social media post, Ms. Hohensee expressed regret that there was not a public backlash against a Nashua student’s social media post, in which that student expressed an opinion regarding an issue before the board, which was followed by abusive responses by other people directed at the student. This shows poor judgement and a lack of leadership and understanding of the mission of public education on the part of Ms. Hohensee, which is to support our students in a positive manner when they are engaged in learning through real life issues.
On May 14, 2019, in a press release, the Greater Nashua Area Branch of the NAACP stated that individuals like Ms. Hohensee are free to express their opinions, but, “…when questionable sources are used to bolster opinions and beliefs, elected officials…should be mindful and diligent as to the sources they quote and the messages they send.” The GNABNAACP goes on to call for Ms. Hohensee to resign from the Nashua BOE.
This was preceded by a letter from the Nashua BOE president calling for Ms. Hohensee to resign from the BOE, as well as a press release from the Nashua Teachers Union, which has also called for Ms. Hohensee to resign.
Insinuating insidiousness and conspiracy within the learning process spreads misconceptions about the realities of our public schools, and hinders and undermines the hard work of the professional educators in our public school district. We recommend that if the people of the City of Nashua want to know what is going on in our schools, please get involved in school activities, go to school events, talk to your children’s principals and teachers, and volunteer your time wherever and whenever possible. We are certain that anyone involved in our school district soon comes to appreciate the hard work and dedication of our teachers and personnel, and will become as proud of our Nashua public school district as we are.
We are in agreement with those who have previously called for her resignation that Ms. Hohensee has demonstrated with her words and actions that she does not have the requisite values and skills to undertake public office as a competent member of the Nashua Board of Education and call for her immediate resignation.