Shocking Political Diatribe by Bio Teacher in Illinois High School
Shocking Political Diatribe by Bio Teacher in Illinois High School
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   08.02.21

If anyone wonders why the calls for cameras in government school classrooms are increasing, read on, and as you read, imagine what would have happened if a teacher had delivered a comparable lecture expressing conservative instead of “progressive” opinions in a public school.

Just prior to the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary, Vanessa Connor, a biology teacher at Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights, Illinois, used her taxpayer-subsidized position to spout her “progressive” views on, among other topics, homosexuality, cross-sex impersonation, co-ed restrooms and locker rooms, the Bible—on which she has views that many biblical scholars would dispute—former President Donald Trump, illegal immigration, and the climate.

Connor reserved her most intense condemnation for parents and teachers—including colleagues—who don’t affirm leftist views of homosexuality and cross-sex identification. She clearly had no compunction about secretly undermining even the deepest beliefs of parents who pay her salary.

You can listen to 18 minutes of her presumptuous, unprofessional, unethical diatribe here.

Connor’s views on homosexuality, cross-sex impersonation, the Bible, and family

Connor—who self-identifies as Catholic—took pot shots at theologically orthodox Christians for their beliefs on sexuality without providing anything more than anecdotes as evidence for her controversial claims:

One of my students earlier has a sister who identifies as lesbian and at the recent family party, her aunt took her aside and said, “I’m going to take you to church this weekend and we are going to fix you.” … And she has other brothers and sisters who support their sister. So, [the aunt] is not a safe aunt to any of her nieces and nephews anymore. … [Y]ou live in a world where people are like, “This is a choice.” I’m sorry. Did any of you ever fill out a survey that says, “Please check heterosexual”?

No acknowledgment from Connor that the Bible condemns homosexuality; that the Catholic Church condemns homosexuality; or that for the entire history of the church until the latter part of the 20th Century, all biblical scholars condemned homosexuality.

Connor is correct in suggesting that people don’t choose to experience homoerotic attraction. What she omits is the important part: They do choose how to respond to those feelings. Is it Connor’s belief—as a Catholic—that any and all powerful, persistent, unchosen feelings are morally legitimate to act upon?

In discussing which issues animate her voting decisions, Connor shared bizarre QAnon-esque stories and bad theology with students:

When billions of dollars are being donated to a Christian Church who gives the money to hate groups, there’s a problem. They believe that teens should go to camp over the summer and get talked out of being gay. Again, no one talked you into being straight, so, you can’t talk somebody out of being gay. And this same group donated billions to another place that believes all transgender people should be sterilized. … Billions, not millions, billions of dollars … to this church so that they can shovel it to these [hate] groups. …

Remember, this is in the name of being Christian. I don’t know about any of you. I’m Catholic … Jesus sat with the people and accepted everybody. I find it very difficult to believe that if there was a gay person, and I’m sure there was at that time, that Jesus would have been like, “Everybody but you. Leper, come on. Gay person, sorry.” … And the auntie who was going to take a girl to church, she goes, “There was Adam and Eve for a reason.” And I’m like, “Well, you need to go home and tell auntie that the story of Adam and Eve isn’t even real.” There is no Adam and Eve. The first five books of the Bible aren’t real. They are stories. They’re made-up stories. You can go ask a religious person, whoever it is. They’re just made-up stories. … Noah and the Ark never flowed anywhere. …

[W]hen you learn and you know better, you can do better. But when we have groups that don’t even want to learn and just continue to spew stuff, it’s bad. It’s really bad.

So many questions raised by Connor’s controversial statements. Enquiring minds want to know the name of the group that is donating “billions of dollars” to a Christian church and “to a place that believes all transgender people should be sterilized”? What is the name of the Christian church? What is the name of the group that allegedly wants all “transgender people” sterilized? What are the names of the “hate groups”? What are the names of the camps that are talking teens out of being gay?

What is Connor’s evidence that some “groups don’t even want to learn”? Is her evidence for an unwillingness to learn the fact that some groups reject leftist beliefs on sexuality? Those groups, of course, would include all theologically orthodox Protestant and Catholic churches. Does it go both ways? Is Connor unwilling to learn because she rejects conservative beliefs?

Connor compared homosexuality—a condition defined by subjective erotic feelings and volitional erotic acts—to leprosy, a disease that has no behavioral implications. Jesus accepts everyone, but his acceptance of sinners into his kingdom is conditional on our repenting of behaviors God tells us are sinful. Leprosy is not one of those conditions. Homosexuality is.

One wonders how many and which Catholic scholars Connor consulted that led to her conclusion that the “first five books of the Bible aren’t real”? My guess is very few. The hubris of a government employee presenting her highly arguable religious beliefs as facts to a captive audience of other people’s minor children makes her unfit for teaching.

Connor explicitly condemned parents, aunts, and uncles who believe homosexual acts are immoral:

[H]ow many of you have some person in your family—your parents … aunts and uncles …  distant relatives— … that … are not supportive of LBGTQ+ … members [of] society? … So, if … a [gay] friend wants to come to your house, then it becomes like an issue for you. And guess what? Lots of us have grown up with people that were either racist or sexist or whatever.

“Supportive” is a euphemism for affirming, and it doesn’t refer to affirming persons as humans created in the image and likeness of God. It means affirming as good ungodly sexual acts and relationships. To leftists like Connor, “supportive” people must love the sin as well as the sinner.

Connor taught other people’s children that being “safe” requires teachers to facilitate cross-sex metaphysical delusions, and that students whose parents oppose name changes can legally change their names without their parents’ consent when they turn 18:

[W]e just had a panel discussion just for teachers that was given by students that go here. One of the students does use the “they/them” pronouns. … And it’s been suggested to us that … a safe teacher … would … try these different pronouns. …[C]ertain teachers will be okay with that. …

We do have students here who have amazing support from their families, who have already gone and legally changed their name. …  But when you’re 18, I think legally you could change your name to whatever you want, and you wouldn’t need your parents’ consent.

So, our [Gay Straight Alliance] is … making like a poster or a picture … to encourage teachers to put [it] in their classrooms so students know it is a safe classroom. We had that for years at Eisenhower. And I brought it up to Mr. Nisavic who runs the GSA, because at Eisenhower …  not every teacher [was] putting them up outside their classroom door.

So, imagine, whether it’s about sexuality or it’s about race or it’s about gender, if there was something that you could identify with and feel like, “Oh, this teacher cares.” And then you walk into your next classroom, and that’s not there. How do you feel about that teacher? How do you feel about being in that room? Okay. So, we have students here who … have … been more open, like, “This is me. Call me this.” And we also have students here who go by names, but teachers are not allowed to refer … by that when they call their parents.

So again, how sad and horrible is that, if you don’t have that great support at home and then you come to school and there isn’t that support … here? We should not be okay with that. And that’s what I brought up. I wasn’t okay with it. That’s horrible.

In Connor’s personal worldview, which she used the classroom to promote, parents who oppose “trans” name changes are unsupportive. And teachers who don’t put up posters affirming homosexuality and cross-sex impersonation are unsafe, uncaring, and “horrible.”

Not only does Connor believe that student “safety” requires teacher-collusion with science-denying “trans”-cultic superstitions, but she also believes safety requires secrecy:

And if someone finds that you are a safe person, please know you don’t have a right to tell anybody else.

The student-recorded portion of Connor’s shocking lecture begins with this announcement;

[T]his idea of gender being fluid is not anything new. Gay people—I’m just encompassing LGBTQ+ community—they’ve been around since humans have been around.

What’s missing from her statement is that all manner of sinful inclinations and acts have been around since humans have been around, something the purportedly Catholic Connor should know.

Connor suggested without stating that the presence of homosexuality and cross-sex impersonation throughout history indicates those conditions are morally neutral or good. Would she be willing to apply that principle consistently to all inclinations and behaviors found among man throughout history?

On sexually integrated restrooms and locker rooms

Connor implied she cares a lot about students’ feelings, but she really seems to care only about the feelings of some students. She condemned the feelings of students who don’t want to undress in the presence of opposite-sex peers:

[I]n second period, I heard someone go, “No. … I couldn’t change in the locker room [with an opposite-sex peer].” And I said, “Well, it’s funny that you brought that up because the biggest places where these people feel the least safe are in locker rooms and in gym classes, because there are so many of you and so few teachers. And in the bathrooms. And we have students here that don’t go to the bathroom during the day, ever.

What about girls who don’t want to use bathrooms with opposite-sex peers? What about the girls and boys in an expensive New York City private school who “started arriving home desperate to get to the bathroom after holding it in all day” because they didn’t want to share restrooms with opposite-sex peers.

Connor manipulated students emotionally by suggesting that opposition to undressing in the presence of opposite-sex peers is equivalent to bullying and will lead to suicide:

[W]e still live in a world where people get beat up, people get killed, and people are committing suicide at a high rate, thinking, “Apparently it’s just better for the world if I’m not here.” There was the 16-year-old young man who was on the autism spectrum, who came out as being gay when he was 12. And due to the bullying, he took his life this week.

It would have been helpful and illuminating for students if Connor had discussed the high post-“transition” suicide rate. She should have discussed the possibility that gender dysphoria, like depression and suicidal ideation, may be a symptom caused by, for example, trauma, abuse, or autism. She should have mentioned detransitioners who experience “sex-change regret.” She should have discussed the astonishing increase in the number of adolescent girls identifying as “trans”—a number that suggests “trans” identification may be a social contagion like cutting and eating disorders. Connor should have mentioned that there is no long-term research on the safety and efficacy of puberty-blockers for the treatment of gender dysphoria.

Illegal Immigration, border security, Wuhan flu

Instead of offering a complete picture of complex and controversial topics, Connor chose to indoctrinate other people’s children by condemning and censoring ideas she abhors. Her goal was not only to change students’ beliefs. Her goal was also to turn her students into activists:

Do you think Shepherd is inclusive or not so much? … Here’s the thing. You guys, young people change the world. You don’t need to wait for adults. And the quickest way you can change the world is coming up really soon when you all get the right to vote. … You’re never going to find a presidential candidate who believes in everything you do, but you have to decide “what are those big sticking points for me?”

One is the world. People are upset about coronavirus. People are buying soap and hand sanitizer as if it’s gold? … But no one cares that we’re killing the earth.

And in an election year, she essentially told students in her biology class who they should vote for:

[W]ith this president [Trump], you keep having this issue with minorities. I mean, do you know how many people are so severely traumatized? Like kids being taken away from their parents.

… [Trump] doesn’t even know that the Corona flu isn’t a thing. He needs to get out of that office. Young people have to help stand up. I mean, at this point in time, if somebody else walks and talks they can do better than he is.

Leftist “educators” who are not experts in even the fields they were hired to teach now believe they’re experts in Critical Race Theory, gender theory, sexuality, morality, and theology. Worse still, while claiming they honor all voices, value diversity, and foster critical thinking, these inexpert, dogmatists call ideas they detest “racist,” “transphobic,” “homophobic,” and “sexist.” Like all propagandists, demagogues, and authoritarians, these “educators” hurl epithets and censor rather than openly debate ideas, which would require logic, reason, and evidence. “Progressive” public school propagandists demand absolute autonomy to impose their moral and political views on their captive audiences because their goal is control—not education.

Listen to this article read by Laurie:

Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country. In addition, Laurie has spoken at the Council for National Policy and educational conferences sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition. She has been married to her husband for forty-four years, and they have four grown children and ten grandchildren....
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