An assistant principal at a Connecticut elementary school has been placed on leave following the release of a video where he spoke of refusing to hire conservatives and Catholics.
Jeremy Boland, assistant principal at Cos Cob Elementary School of Greenwich, was suspended in response to a video posted online by the conservative activist group Project Veritas.
The undercover video shows Boland explaining how he makes an effort to hire only politically progressive individuals for staff positions at his school. At one point, he is seen saying, "if they're Catholic [or] conservative …You don't hire them."
"If someone is raised hardcore Catholic, it's like they're brainwashed. … You can never change their mindset," he said in the video, saying he considered local Protestants fairly liberal.
"You're teaching [children] how to think. That's it. It doesn't matter what they think about. If they think about it in a logical, progressive way, that becomes their habit."
Boland said he wouldn't consider hiring someone over 30 because they will "never change" and doesn't want to hire a teacher who "sides with the parent" on specific issues.
Greenwich Public Schools Superintendent Toni Jones sent a statement to local families and staff on Wednesday, saying that Boland was placed on administrative leave over his remarks.
"The following is an update regarding the viral video that contains footage of an administrator at Cos Cob School. Immediately, the staff member was placed on administrative leave," stated Jones.
"We do not support any opinions that promote discriminatory hiring practices based on race, religion, gender, or age in any way, and we want to remind our entire community that our curriculum policies and procedures are strictly enforced by our Board."
While on administrative leave, Boland faces an investigation by the school district regarding his comments and hiring practices.
Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, said the Connecticut Department of Education is investigating Boland.
"Discrimination of any kind has no place in Connecticut, especially in our public schools. This is not aligned with our Connecticut values," he said in a statement.
"The Connecticut State Department of Education is aware of the incident, has been in contact with Greenwich Public School administrators, and is monitoring the situation’s progress."
Christopher Healy, the executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, condemned Boland's remarks and thinks he may have violated state laws.
"The comments regarding Catholics as well as indoctrination techniques by the Cos Cob Elementary School assistant principal are vile and they do a profound disservice to the many Catholic teachers in public schools both in Greenwich and across the state," Healy said in a statement Wednesday.
"It is our hope this is an isolated incident and not reflective of all dedicated teachers, administrators, and support staff who are trying to provide a quality education to our children. At the same time, this is an important moment for all elected leaders to denounce this practice and to guarantee that any parent or student who do have concerns about the quality of education be respected and heard."
In the video, recorded in July, Boland is heard saying that "open-minded," progressive teachers are savvier "about delivering a Democratic message without really having to mention their politics."
"It's subtle. They'll never say, 'This is a liberal or Democratic way of doing this,'" he said. "They just make that the norm."
He also suggested that he would never be able to change or fire an older conservative teacher who is "stuck in her ways."
"So, I make an impact with the next teacher I hire," he said. "So, my instinct for hiring — I've hired maybe four or five people. They're pretty good."
Connecticut Senate Majority Leader state Sen. Bob Duff, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that at a minimum, "the assistant principal should face immediate legal consequences."
"If proven true, these are not our values and should not be tolerated," Duff stated.
The news comes as there has been a growing concern among many parents with children in public schools nationwide that some classrooms have become places of political indoctrination. According to a recent report from the group Education Next, approximately 2 million students have been taken out of public schools since spring 2020.
Last month, a Utah teacher was put on leave after a video of her saying that her classroom was "built for nonwhite students" and criticizing "posh white parents" was posted to Twitter.
The Twitter handle "Eye on the Classroom" posted the video of the unnamed teacher explaining how "for the first time in my life, I am going to be teaching at a majority white school."
"What I mean by that is like if you look around and you interact with some of the materials I have, you'll notice that there's like no white kids represented … not a single white face there," she said.
In August 2021, a teacher in Loudoun County, Virginia, resigned from her position due to concerns with what she claims to be the county's implementation of progressive political ideologies, such as critical race theory, inside the classroom.
In a resignation speech given during a school board meeting, teacher Laura Morris said she "struggled with the idea of returning to school knowing that I'll be working yet again with a school division that ... promotes political ideologies that do not square with who I am as a believer in Christ."
There have been several instances nationwide in which teachers have opposed school district policies requiring them to use trans-identified students' preferred names and pronouns. Some teachers have been fired for not acquiescing to those demands.