Roy Exum: Beware Angry Conservatives

Saturday, August 10, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I was told by a WDEF reporter on Wednesday that when they requested an interview from the Hamilton County Department of Education on the after-shock of the ‘white privilege’ debacle earlier in the week, a spokesman for the district that teaches approximately 44,500 of Chattanooga’s children told reporters that the school officials had nothing to say nor would there be any comment in the future. But in the words of another sage, “The cheese has slid off the cracker.”

An online news outlet believed to originate each week in Nashville has a story this weekend that proves ominous clouds are most definitely on the horizon. To refresh your memory, I had never heard of “white privilege’ until sometime this spring when the Williamson County Department of Education had its teachers watch a series of four films that infuriated all of Middle Tennessee. Williamson County, which includes the town of Franklin, is the fastest growing county in Tennessee – it is a wealthy suburb of Nashville that last year increased its population by 1,000 newcomers EVERY DAY for 12 straight months … and people are still coming in droves.

‘White privilege’ is quickly becoming a race-baiting hoax, according to such news celebrities as Tucker Carlson of Fox News, but a Communist-based crowd of school children led by the granddaughter of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden could not have created a better cyclone.

Well, the school superintendent was run out of town, the school board was repeatedly defamed by the public, and the “liberal elites” all wondered if they should relocate. It was a colossal disaster and our Hamilton County deep thinkers, rather that learn the left-thinking racists can do more damage than a Sunday night tornado, just did considerably worse.

It has been said that when those who you elect on your behalf do nothing in any calamity – don’t worry – by their cowardly silence they will have done something indeed, and, brother, things always get worse.

* * *


A headline yesterday (8/10/2019) in The Tennessee Star reads, “Conservatives Urged to Replace Williamson County School Board Members After ‘White Privilege’ Training,” here is what was written by Chris Butler:

- - -

The Williamson County School System has allegedly taken a left turn politically, and that has prompted one county resident to appeal to conservatives to seek office to try to replace members of the school board.

County resident Edina Nelson told The Tennessee Star this week that local conservatives can run in 2020.

As reported, former superintendent Mike Looney oversaw an In-service teacher training curriculum last spring that preached, among other things, “white privilege” leftist social justice causes and America’s supposed dysfunctional history.

“The school board members coming up for re-election did nothing to help conservative parents. In fact, they took the side of the school administration by endorsing the curriculum (and) blocking and refusing to answer questions from conservative parents and taxpayers. They didn’t even denounce the white privilege training,” Nelson said in an emailed statement.

“Dr. Looney is gone, but the problems are far from over.  The school administration is like a runaway train on a leftist, social justice driven course and will not change direction unless reined in. The school board is the elected body that calls the shots within the school district. It has the legal, moral and logistical authority to stop any type of political indoctrination. But for that, we need school board members who are committed to this fight.”

None of the 12 county school board members returned The Star’s requests for comment before Friday’s stated deadline.

“They have been actively blocking conservative parents from reviewing the curriculum by limiting access to the materials,” Nelson said of school district officials.

“The few times that parents were able to review the materials, they have uncovered blatantly leftist items.”

Nelson said school district officials teach from left-leaning news sources, such as The New York Times and CNN.

As reported in March, school board members did not answer questions about whether they approved the “white privilege” training and, if so, when?

“The events uncovered in recent months have shown us that educators and staff members at WCSD cannot be trusted to stay politically neutral,” Nelson said.

* * *


While Superintendent Bryan Johnson, and the Hamilton County Commission that oversees the HCDE, have failed to address the in-service training where 10 days ago a teacher in the HCDE stood and publicly apologized for being white, and subsequent events, I have received a  copy of an alleged email exchange between Chattanooga’s John Dietzen and School Board Chairman Joe Wingate. (

This may explain the Department of Education and the School Board lack of a public response:

ON AUGUST 5, 2019, (8:29 a.m.) Dietzen wrote this email to the school board:

Dear HC School Board members,

By now, I'm sure you are aware of this unwanted, negative national notoriety:

By allowing this divisive (and blatantly inaccurate) presentation to be made, Johnson has enabled an environment of reverse racism and the creation of a hostile work environment among HCDE's employees, not to mention setting a horrible example for our students. Worse yet, it exposes a culture of bigotry within the school system administration.

This incident is not isolated. I have heard other examples of racial disharmony created by Johnson and his staff. In my opinion, we are at a tipping point with race relations within our school system, which can no longer be ignored. Additionally, Johnson's ongoing quest for inflating his staff and increasing the school system's budget consistently fails to deliver higher quality education and academic achievement by our students. Furthermore, the negative influence by the liberal UnifiEd group (supported by Johnson) upon our school system does not represent our traditional values and is a dangerous catalyst for unwanted change.

You must now carefully ponder the following question: should the school system continue on with "business as usual," or is it time to hold the administration accountable for the negative environment it has created?

A growing number of parents and local government officials appear to have lost confidence in Johnson's abilities to shepherd our teachers and students in the right direction. Our students deserve better, and our teachers deserve better!

- - -

ON AUG. 5, 2019, (11:15 AM)  School Board Chairman Wingate sent this reply to John Dietzen:

“What is divisive and blatantly inaccurate is the reporting of the presentation.  No one in attendance at the presentation has described it in any way remotely reported.  Also, the presenter has no history of pushing the agenda that news outlets have purported.  Lastly, all of this began with a posting by a local news outlet that, by the time the information was published, had become third hand.  My hope is that folks begin to use more discernment and deductive logic when ingesting information.   What you will get from this School Board and Superintendent is academic growth and organizational stability, not time wasted on political agendas.” Yours in service, Joe Wingate

- - -

ON AUG. 5, 2019 (12:59 AM) John Dietzen sent this reply to School Board Chairman Joe Wingate:

“Then why, according to sources I’ve heard and seen, did many of the attendees and other HCDE employees who heard about it feel insulted and/or were angered by the presentation, most of whom are keeping silent for fear of losing their jobs?  You are either minimizing, or are unaware of, the divisiveness caused by it (in other words, a hostile work environment).  

You probably should put forth a better effort to cultivate a more diverse cross-section of opinions. I’m not sure how you do that while preserving anonymity, but perhaps using social media might help.

I’m also told that other examples of reverse racism exist within Johnson’s administration, which is all I will say about that.

This divisiveness not only affects our city, but also other parts of the state, if not the entire country:

Finally, the severity of this problem is worthy of the immediate attention of our county commissioners, so I have forwarded my concerns to all of them.

Thanks, in advance, for your continued due diligence into solving this serious problem ( s/ .John Dietzen)

- - -

ON AUG. 5, 2019 (12:48 PM,) School Board chairman Wingate sent this reply to John Dietzen:

“I’ve not heard or seen of any concerns other than those propagated by individuals who were not in attendance.  Fear of losing a job is a lame and tired excuse.  Either wrong has been done or it hasn’t.  You seem completely ok with someone losing their job over third hand information, but don’t feel it important for those who would provide those reasons for termination to identify themselves.  There is no history regarding the presenter or our Superintendent to suggest there exists a pattern of behavior.  I will not allow people to make accusations from the dark.  They should either step out and be counted while speaking with conviction or remain in the shadows.”

* * *

Despite that blaming the news media is not only a lame excuse but repeated daily in our nation, the email exchange gives substantial credence that “white privilege’ may well indeed be a hoax but, as with many lies, is best addressed at the ballot box.

According to the Hamilton County Election Commission, the 2020 cycle of officials will include:

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE --  Chuck Fleischmann (R-4) will be in the August 2020 primary.

FOR STATE LEGISLATOR – Senator Todd Gardenhire, Rep. Robin Smith, Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, Rep. Yusuf Hakeem, Rep. Esther Helton and Rep. Mike Carter will be on the ballot.

FOR MAYOR – Andy Berke will be replaced by term limits in the March 2021 primary election. Jim Coppinger will stay in office until the 2022 election.

HAMILTON COUNTY COMMISSION – All nine members will be in the May 2022 primary election.

HAMILTON COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD – The four-year terms are split for continuance. In the August 2020 election will be Rhonda Thurman (District 1), Kathy Lennon (District 2), Tiffanie Robertson (District 4), and Joe Wingate (District 7). In the August 2022 election cycle will be Joe Smith (District 3), Karitsa Mosley (District 5), Tucker McClendon (District 8), and Steve Highlander (District 9)

HAMILTON COUNTY OFFICIALS – Most seated county officials will be in the May 2022 primary election but Marty Haynes, the Assessor of Property, will be in the March 2020 primary election.

CITY OF CHATTANOOGA COUNCIL – All nine members will be in the March 2021 election.

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