Nicholas Seppy got a taste for elected office as the student representative on the Egg Harbor Township Board of Education his senior year of high school.
That was the 2019-2020 school year. The New Jersey district’s response to COVID-19 ensured that March 14, 2020 was “my last day of school ever” in person, Seppy told Just the News.
The experience of going through abrupt virtual education and watching the school board dismiss the concerns of parents over the next year helped convince Seppy to run for the board — twice.
He won the second time, defeating the incumbent by a nearly 3 to 2 ratio in the school board election last week, and will now balance his new duties with his political science studies at nearby Stockton University.
The 19-year-old sophomore told Just the News Thursday he credited the ability to talk to voters in person — something drastically limited during his first run at the height of the pandemic — for his victory.
Yet this time Seppy ran on a risky platform for a Democratic-leaning area, not only opposing mask and COVID vaccine mandates for schools but also the teaching of critical race theory, which promotes a “very slanted way of thinking.” Similar platforms brought victories in school board races across the country Tuesday night.
He also campaigned for civics education and vocational training options for students to fill the ranks of tradesmen who are fast retiring in his region, just outside Atlantic City. These jobs are facing a “big drought” in younger workers.
But Seppy eschews the idea that he ran as a “grudge or vendetta” against the board that cut short his senior year, as suggested by early attention to his victory.
He undid his retweet of a D.C. pundit who said Seppy blew out “one of the school board members who ruined his senior year,” telling Just the News he didn’t initially see the false claim, which was subsequently repeated. His opponent this year, Terre Alabarda, wasn’t on the 2019-2020 board.
“The teachers did the best job they could” with the switch to virtual education in spring 2020, Seppy said. He’s still upset, though, that the community didn’t get “the graduation we were entitled to” under state guidance. “Our families and spectators should have been there.”
He told the Washington Examiner the hybrid learning foisted on students was particularly hard on younger children, who functionally lost “an entire year of education.” The board approved an expansion to “four abbreviated days of in-person learning” this spring.
His first campaign a year ago was premised on getting students back to in-person learning as fast as possible. When New Jersey “rained down its iron fists” with COVID mandates, board members “sort of just rolled with it” and failed to consult the community, Seppy told Just the News.
“The people were making demands in the town, and the demands were falling on deaf ears,” he said. The board repeatedly cut off parents during public comment, on the basis that they were possibly “not as gentle as they should have been” in criticizing board decisions.
This campaign season was all about mask and vaccine mandates. The district is requiring children to be masked indoors all day long but has not yet required them to be vaccinated against COVID.
Seppy said the board shouldn’t decide either issue for parents but conceded he’s less bothered by mask mandates because they are less “invasive.” Regarding vaccine mandates, “I expect to be fighting hard” due to Gov. Phil Murphy’s narrow reelection.
He noted remarks by campaign staffers on undercover camera that the Democrat was concealing his plans for broad vaccine mandates until after the election. Murphy later said he had “zero expectation” of doing that.
The Democratic State Committee told Project Veritas that it was contemplating legal action against the guerilla journalism organization for “luring women into a dark parking garage and ambushing them” with questions, which it characterized as “criminal harassment.”
Regarding critical race theory, Superintendent Kim Gruccio told a school board meeting this summer that the concept isn’t taught in the district.
Seppy quibbled with that, telling Just the News the district uses a “lite edition” that he believes needs “alteration.” For example, he would keep out the 1619 Project curriculum but accept “something akin to it” on the ills of slavery, as long as the teaching is “objective.”
His history curriculum in school was “well balanced,” but he also benefited from teachers whose lessons were “secular in a certain sense from the nature of politics,” not promoting an ideological agenda. “I don’t want to obliterate multiculturalism in schools.”
Asked if he was sanguine about the newly constituted school board adopting his agenda, Seppy agreed “in a moderate sense.” With the reelection of the “very wise” veteran Barbara Szilagyi and incoming “concerned mother” Regina Bongiorno, this is “a board that listens to parents.”
Foreign-born population soars to new record under Biden; highest rate of immigrants since 1910
The U.S. has had a massive surge in immigration this year, with as many as 1.5 million newcomers and a record 46.2 million foreign-born people, according to a report for the Center for Immigration Studies.
After a deep trough last year, likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel and migration restrictions imposed to control the spread, the flow of people rebounded around the time President Biden was elected.
In numbers never seen before, they are coming legally through airports and land border crossings and illegally across the Rio Grande and remote regions of Arizona and California.
“There was pent-up demand for legal immigration, and illegal immigration has exploded in one of the greatest surges, if not the greatest, we’ve ever seen,” said Steven A. Camarota, the demographer who was the chief author of the report. “It’s driving the numbers up and up and up.”
As it stands, 14.2% of the U.S. population is foreign-born, or 1 out of every 7 people. That is the highest rate of immigrants in the population since 1910, when the number was 14.7%. At current trends, the government says, the U.S. will break that record well before the end of this decade.
Those numbers are even starker given the reversal of trends.
The data showed a drop of 1.2 million immigrants from February to September 2020, likely the result of coronavirus restrictions blocking new entrants, even as outmigration continued. That left the population of the foreign-born — the Census Bureau’s term — at 43.8 million.
It was up to 45 million by January and marched steadily to the current 46.2 million total shown for last month.
In the year after President Trump’s election, the immigrant population flattened.
Mashup: MSM worst moments of 2021
Salvation Army’s Internal Survey Suggests Only Whites Are Racist
“I Took The Salvation Army’s Internal Survey On ‘Racism’ Within The Organization. Here’s What I Discovered.”
The Salvation Army has recently come under significant fire for asking white donors to “offer a sincere apology” for racism. The nearly 150-year old organization created a curriculum entitled “Let’s Talk About Racism” and shared it with its members, along with associated DEI Trainings that cite and draw from Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi’s work. The packet argues that Christians should “stop trying to be ‘colorblind’” and that they should apologize for being “antagonistic.. to black people or the culture, values and interests of the black community.” In response, donors by the thousands have vowed not to donate until the organization reverses their stance.
The Salvation Army has denied any wrongdoing, defiantly calling the allegations that they have gone woke “false.” While they admit that the topic of race in America can be fraught with controversy, they have denied they have “gone woke.” Much of their denial centers around their claim that use of the guide was completely voluntary, and that they are not peddling critical race narratives in their organization.
I obtained a copy of The Salvation Army’s internal survey on “racism within the Salvation Army” and tested that claim.
One Salvation Army officer reached out on condition of anonymity to Color Us United, the raceblind advocacy organization which I run, to reveal an internal survey he was asked to take. It was not a voluntary survey, and was sent by the Territorial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary to every Salvation Army Officer in the US Central Territory. The purpose of the survey, according to an email from the “Territorial Racial Diversity and Inclusion Secretary,” was “to better understand perception of institutional racial bias within The Salvation Army.” The accompanying email stated that there was no “preconceived idea” with regard to whether or not racism existed in The Salvation Army, and told recipients that there were no wrong answers.
I sat down and went through the questions.
First, Questions #1, #2, and #3 asked me for my race, age, and gender. I could not skip these questions. Already, I felt uncomfortable being required to list my personal attributes. If I was an officer, I would be wondering: how could this information be used against me in the future? (They did promise anonymity in this survey.)
The survey then asks Salvationists if they agree with the following definition of racism: “Institutional racism refers to organizational or system processes, behaviors, policies, or procedures, which produce negative outcomes for nonwhites relative to those for whites.” The remaining questions in the survey are dependent upon agreeing to this definition of racism. For any Officer or Soldier who disagrees with this framing, there is no way to express any disagreement or nuance apart from plainly saying that racism does not exist.
Question #6 goes on to ask the survey taker whether they believe there is any institutional bias or racism in The Salvation Army. Question #7 says: “If you answered no to question #6, do you think others in The Salvation Army think there are racial tensions or institutional racism?” The purpose of these questions, I started to feel, was to force the survey taker to admit that The Salvation Army is institutionally racist according to their definition of racism. There is no room for any Officer to elaborate on how they disagree with the definitions, framing, or worldview informing the questions.
The final question asks: “What is the best way to address Racism in The Salvation Army?” The answer options are: “individual reconciliation,” “group reconciliation,” “addressing structures and practices that cause racism,” “all of the above,” or “other.” Note that there is no option for the survey taker to simply say that racism is not a problem in The Salvation Army. The survey (which according to the email, was “intended to go to all the officers within your division, employees, and soldiers” for the Central Territory) simply assumes that racism is present in the organization.
Going through the survey, it became apparent that the survey was attempting to lead me to making only one conclusion about The Salvation Army – that it harbored problematic racism.
This belief is one of the core tenets of critical race theory. Critical race theorists teach that racism is ubiquitous in all aspects of American life. They also teach that it works systemically; that is, by being ingrained in the systems and institutions that operate in society. Their primary evidence of the system being racist is the reality that individuals from different demographics have different life outcomes on average, without taking into account any variables that might impact said life outcomes apart from the color of their skin. All of these concepts are reflected in The Salvation Army’s survey.
Any officer who believes in individualism, colorblindness, and meritocracy will be unable to answer any of the survey questions in good faith. Any officer who believes that The Salvation Army is not a racist organization would not be able to answer these questions in good faith either. Many (if not most) Americans believe that racism is primarily an issue of individuals who harbor feelings of hate against those of other races, not a society-wide conspiracy as alleged by antiracist activists. This survey totally excludes the colorblind perspective from the conversation and forces Officers and other Salvationists into a critical race theory-informed box.