White House Plans for Education Include Presumption of Guilt and “Critical Feminism”

The Biden administration’s “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality” has so many obvious problems that the subtle ones can pass under the radar. The latter include assuring that K-12 schools investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment using methods that: 1) Are biased and incompatible with due process. 2) Are grounded in and used to inculcate “Critical Feminism” and anti-male prejudice.

Such are the realities behind the benign sounding term “trauma informed methods” and claims that these “protect victims.” But lack of familiarity with the term is all that can conceal the truth about a document that openly says: “We will improve the response to sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other gender-based violence in early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary education, including supporting trauma informed training for school employees to reduce re-victimizing students.”

“Trauma informed” is a euphemism for presumption of guilt. “Trauma informed” methods oppose objectively assessing allegations. They insist investigators should “start by believing” allegations—then search for corroboration. Conclusions are not based on evidence. Evidence is interpreted to fit the presupposition. Science is disregarded. According to scientific psychology, for example, trauma usually enhances memory. “Trauma informed” methods claim trauma usually impairs memory—then treat inconsistencies and apparent dishonesty as proof of veracity.

Another unscientific “justification” is belief that human psychology is innately fragile. No distinction is made between the emotionally unpleasant and the traumatic. Because rigorous examination of accusers is emotionally unpleasant it’s excluded as “re-traumatizing.” This ignores a basic principle of justice—that protecting the innocent requires that punishment cannot be imposed without sufficient proof. What impact obtaining proof has on victims’ psychology has no bearing on its necessity.

Critiques of “trauma informed” methods have focused on the criminal justice system and college disciplinary policies. Results of their use in these areas have been predictable. Increased prosecution of rape without sufficient evidence led to plummeting conviction rates. Falsely accused college students have often been punished despite lack of evidence—even despite exonerating evidence. Many have filed successful lawsuits.

If “trauma informed” methods are introduced in K-12 education, falsely accused students will: 1) Suffer the disadvantages found in both the criminal justice and college disciplinary systems. 2) Not benefit from the ways each system mitigates dangers to the falsely accused.

Being subject to the criminal justice system is not a free choice. But standards of proof and of due process greatly reduce the danger of convicting the innocent—even if investigators influenced by “trauma informed” methods presume guilt. College students are in an inverse situation. Too many colleges severely punish students without sufficient evidence. But attendance at a particular college is a matter of choice. Students’ can use colleges’ disciplinary policies as criteria for deciding which to attend—giving them some control over whether they are subjected to unjust “standards.”

Introducing “trauma informed” methods into K-12 public education would force the majority of Americans under 18 into an unjust disciplinary system. This can have severe consequences for their pursuit of higher education—and so for their entire futures. Limited to public schools, the worst impact would be on the economically disadvantaged. Extending “trauma informed” methods to private K-12 schools would make the problem almost universal.

Another problem is that support for “trauma informed” methods is often motivated by and used to promote “Critical Feminism.” Critical Feminism is grounded in the same Frankfurt School ideology as Critical Race Theory. The Frankfurt School divides people into “oppressor groups” and “victim groups.” Males and white people are categorized as “oppressors” while women and people of non-white races are “victims.” In fact, the entire “National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality” is permeated by Frankfurt School presuppositions. That is why it largely focuses on matters that have no meaningful relationship to gender—using the Critical Theory concept of “intersectionality” as “justification.”

Critical Feminism’s approach to sexual assault and harassment is grounded in its victim/oppressor ideology. It refuses to accept that each offense is rooted in the personal decisions of an individual—regardless of the sex of either the offender or the victim. Instead, it claims that male-on-female offenses are rooted in and reinforce a “victim/oppressor social dichotomy.” The teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools suggests that “trauma informed” methods of “combating rape” will be used to inculcate Critical Feminism.

Sound educational policy must: 1) Establish reasonable standards of evidence to be met before students can be punished for alleged sexual assault or harassment. 2) Establish a clear system for appealing disciplinary decisions made without sufficient evidence. 3) Prohibit disciplinary policies and teaching practices that inculcate (even by implication) the belief that men are oppressors and women are victims. 4) Enforce meaningful discipline of teachers and school administrators who violate the foregoing policies.
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