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WATCH: PHM Pro CRT Employee Goes Over Speaking Time at School Board Meeting. Never Told to Stop. Walks Away to Applause. Anti-CRT Parent Arrested for Requesting More Time.

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — While the fallout continues for the Penn Harris Madison School corporation following the arrest of a parent who requested more time to speak to the board at a meeting last week, videos are resurfacing showing a clear political double standard held by the board and superintendent. One video in particular is of a high ranking administrator admonishing parents who happen to be speaking against Critical Race Theory being taught to PHM students.

At a meeting in June of 2021, Communications Director Lucha Ramey goes nearly 10 seconds over her time. She is never interrupted and does not appear to ever be asked to stop while she bashes parents who are concerned about CRT being taught to their children.

“What I have sat here and listened to for the past 20 minutes or so, in and of itself, is the definition of microagression.” Ramey said, before demanding the board recognize her skin color. “I am a person of color who is also biracial.”

“It’s the equivalent of someone coming up to you and saying, ‘I have cancer’ and you are the doctor and have to cure of cancer and you look over that person and refuse to give it to them.” Seeming to suggest that CRT is the cure for racism.

Parent and advocate, Ben Dallas, put together a video showing the differences in how Ramey was treated when she went over her time, compared to Andy Rutten, who was arrested last week.

Rutten was addressing the board with information he had gathered and was attempting to show numbers and statistics to members at the time. During his presentation, a board member or administrator had taken up much of the Ruttens allotted 3 minutes to reply to one aspect of the concerns. Immediately after, the Rutten requested more time to discuss another point of concern.

Board President Chris Riley denied Rutten’s request for time. As Rutten calmly insisted that he be able to continue to present to the board, Riley called a St. Joseph County Deputy over to intervene. Rutten was subsequently placed in handcuffs and arrested. The school district has since issued a no-trespassing warning to Rutten, preventing him from being on school property.

PHM BREAKS THE LAW

The arrest and trespass warning comes only weeks after the State of Indiana came down with a ruling showing the school district broke the law in regard to how it holds public meetings. Rutten made the complaint that lead to the ruling.

The State of Indiana released a scathing report in March, condemning the Penn Harris Madison School Corporation for blatantly breaking public records laws after an investigation by Indiana’s Public Access Counselor (PAC).

In a 9 page report by the PAC, the state lays out the complaint, Indiana’s laws and the violations committed by PHM Schools.

In January, Rutten submitted a public records request for information regarding PHM’s Superintendent Advisory Council (SAC). PHM claimed the SAC was exempt from Indiana’s Open Door Law — which requires meetings of certain public bodies be open to the public. PHM erroneously stated that since members of the SAC are appointed by the Superintendent and not an elected body, the meetings did not need to be open to the public.

The SAC has been responsible for pushing Critical Race Theory tenets into PHM schools through Diversity Equity and Inclusion initiatives. All of their meetings have been held in secret due to PHM’s violations.

According to PHM’s Website, “The objective of the SAC Steering Committee this year will be to serve in an advisory role regarding the implementation of the district’s DEI goals proposed by the SAC last year. P-H-M values and celebrates diversity and seeks to work on eliminating racial injustices and discrimination within the school district.”

The SAC consists of “members of P-H-M’s administration, teachers, staff, parents/guardians, students, as well as the greater community,” according to the website.

In the conclusion of his report, the Public Access Counselor wrote, “it is the opinion of this office that the Superintendent’s Advisory Council for Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation is subject to the Open Door Law.”

COMPLAINTS AGAINST LUCHA RAMEY

It turns out, Lucha Ramey has a history of unethical behavior and has had complaints filed against her by Rutten as well.

Last year, Rutten filed a complaint against Ramey for not allowing his wife to speak at a board meeting in June of 2021. While Ramey herself took the liberty of speaking during the public comment herself.

“I’m writing to request a brief conference to discuss in greater detail an issue wherein my wife… and a handful of others were prevented by a PHM staff member from attending and
giving visitor comments to the PHM school board at their 6/21 meeting. This staff member, as you may recall, then opted to speak towards the meeting end as an in-person visitor. I was almost prevented from attending and giving comments as well.” The parent wrote in his formal complaint.

Much of the meeting discussed PHM’s stance on having Critical Race Theory included in the curriculum. While Ramey is accused of preventing the public from speaking during the meeting, she stood up during public comment and addressed the board herself — promoting CRT practicum like Microagressions.

“What I have sat here and listened to for the past 20 minutes or so, in and of itself, is the definition of microagression.” She said. “I am a person of color who is also biracial.”

“It’s the equivalent of someone coming up to you and saying, ‘I have cancer’ and you are the doctor and have to cure of cancer and you look over that person and refuse to give it to them.” Seeming to suggest that CRT is the cure for racism.

The latest complaint against Ramey stems from the November 22nd board meeting where one parent claims she was speaking with a board member after the meeting had finished. In the parent’s emailed complaint to Superintendent Jerry Thacker, the parent claims she was berated by Ms. Ramey for discussing an article written by RNM regarding an applicant for an open board seat.

“Lucha Ramey Aggressively interrupted our conversation.” The parent wrote. “She was very agitated (as she was) talking down about a local journalist that (sic) wrote an article about a board applicant. I stopped her and calmly stated ‘I’m sorry but you interrupted a private conversation.’”

The parent claims Ramey became more aggressive after that.

“She pointed her finger in my face… stating ‘what you guys are doing is despicable.’” The email reads. “(The board member) told her she should not treat a parent like that. She proceeded to tell (the board member) she had corrected misinformation from an article and sent it to the board… I repeated  to her that she does not get to interrupt private conversations. She said ‘I am the director of communications and it is my job to clear up misinformation.’”

RNM reached out to Ms. Ramey and Superintendent Thacker via email in December of 2021.

“(The comments made by the communications director are) concerning, due to the fact that nobody from PHM administration has reached out to me to request a retraction, correction or provide criticism of any kind regarding stories I have published. This is defamatory behavior toward a journalist and parent of a PHM student. Is there currently an investigation into Ms. Ramey for any of these complaints? And, does Ms. Ramey admit to making statements or claims of misinformation produced by Clifton French?” 

RNM did not receive a response.

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