Education

School District: Berkeley Riot Organizers Tried To ‘Brainwash’ Students Into Left-Wing Activism [VIDEO]

Far-left activists behind recent anti-conservative riots in Berkeley tried to “brainwash” and “indoctrinate” students into supporting left-wing social justice causes, Berkeley Unified School District argued in court filings reviewed by local news organization Berkeleyside.

By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), a far-left activist group with deep ties to pro-pedophilia advocates, places a priority on youth involvement in its protests, according to the group’s stated principles.

Middle school teacher Yvette Felarca, a prominent BAMN organizer, repeatedly abused her position as an educator to push left-wing activist causes, the school district claimed. (RELATED: Documents Tie Berkeley Riot Organizers To Pro-Pedophilia Group, NAMBLA)

Despite repeated warnings, the district says, Felarca continued to try to recruit students into her radical organization, including during work hours. Felarca frequently tried to bring students on school-sponsored trips to BAMN-related activities, which the district claimed were attempts to “indoctrinate” the students, according to Berkeleyside.

“This position taken by you and BAMN that U.S. border should be entirely open is a very radical and controversial idea that many students and parents would not support,” the letter stated.

Efforts to discipline Felarca were often derailed by student protesters who would disrupt disciplinary hearings in support of Felarca, the district said.

In a letter to Felarca outlining some of the school’s complaints, the district stated, “it was evident that you and your [By Any Means Necessary] representatives were actively trying to brainwash and manipulate these young people to serve your own selfish interests in not being held accountable to the same rules that apply to everyone else. As a teacher, your conduct was particularly reprehensible.”

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Felarca denied all accusations that she tried to indoctrinate or brainwash students, Berkeleyside reported.

Other BAMN members working as teachers have mixed their teaching roles with their activism for BAMN.

In December 2015, Nicole Conaway, a BAMN organizer and math teacher at East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit, led a “sickout” where teachers called in sick to protest Republican Governor Rick Snyder. The sickout forced six Detroit-area schools to cancel classes, affecting nearly 4,000 students.  One month later, Conaway led students in a school walkout protesting poor building conditions. She was one of three BAMN organizers arrested in connection with the protest.

Oakland Technical High School teacher and BAMN member Tania Kappner worked with Felarca in January of this year to organize students and teachers in a walkout in protest of Trump. Kappner, who was identified in the media as a BAMN member as early as 2011, did not return an email seeking comment.

Video from a 2016 BAMN protest in Oakland shows a young Latino child standing in pouring rain while he speaks in Spanish into a microphone, reading his remarks off of an iPhone.

Video of a 2013 rally uploaded by BAMN shows Felarca introducing Sidney Adebayo, a high school student at Oakland Tech. Felarca described Adebayo as the son of Nigerian immigrants and “a leader in this movement who has fought in his school against the racism and segregation in the Honors and AP track at Oakland Tech high school.”

Another video uploaded by BAMN that same month shows Adebayo speaking again, this time at an immigrant rights march in Washington, D.C. “We can do this, this fight can be done,” Adebayo said to BAMN members through a megaphone. “It can be done the easy way, or it can be done the hard way — or as I like to call it, the fun way,” he continued, drawing cheers from other BAMN members.

In 2013, BAMN bused 2,000 protesters to Washington, D.C. for a protest outside the Supreme Court in support of affirmative action policies in universities, Michigan newspaper the Macomb Daily reported.

After the 2013 police shooting of California 13-year-old Andy Lopez, BAMN organized a student protest calling for the imprisonment of the officer, who the local district attorney said acted lawfully when shooting Lopez.

Video from the event posted by BAMN shows unidentified adults in “Justice for Andy Lopez” t-shirts coaching worked-up students, who screamed obscenities at the officers and called them “murderers.”

BAMN members are active within teacher’s unions and have been difficult to fire in the past.

BAMN organizer Steve Conn was head of the teacher’s union in Detroit before being ousted in 2015. Conn and his wife, former teacher Heather Miller, were fired in 2007 after leading a student protest that resulted in students being pepper sprayed, but were later reinstated and awarded a $300,000 settlement. Seventeen different BAMN members ran for elected positions on the Detroit Federation of Teachers in November 2016, according to a newsletter sent out by the DFT.

Another prominent BAMN organizer, Mark Airgood, works as a teacher at Edna Brewer Middle School, a spokesperson for the Oakland Unified School District confirmed to TheDC. Airgood has ran multiple unsuccessful campaigns for leadership positions on the National Education Association, a national teacher’s union.

When Felarca was suspended for her violent behavior in 2016, the local teacher’s union joined her in suing the school to get the radical activist reinstated. Shanta Driver, an attorney said to be BAMN’s founder, represented Felarca in her suit against the school district.

Another BAMN attorney involved in Felarca’s lawsuit, Ronald Cruz, told student newspaper The Daily Californian in November that, in addition to already being reinstated, Felarca will seek “seek damages for the violations on her rights.”

The Daily Caller previously reported on the ties between BAMN and the pro-pedophilia North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), through BAMN’s parent organization, the communist Revolutionary Workers League (RWL).

RWL worked directly with NAMBLA in the years just before its members started BAMN, according to NAMBLA publications from the 1990s provided to TheDC by an anonymous group of researchers calling themselves “Antifaleaks.”

BAMN, whose full name is The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, was started by RWL members in 1995.

The group has not returned TheDC’s requests for comment. Multiple reports, including one from left-wing website Mother Jones, have described BAMN as a “front group” for RWL.

Eileen Scheff, said to be one of BAMN’s founders, gave a rousing defense of NAMBLA where she defended the group against a “witch-hunt.”

“The Revolutionary Workers League is a Trotskyist organization of which I’m a member,” BAMN co-founder Luke Massie told the Michigan Daily in 2001. “We are proud to have played a part in a whole lot of struggles and to have played a role in the founding of BAMN.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson