If you thought sending your child to private school offered any protection against the spreading and increasingly totalitarian virus of Critical Race Theory, consider a recent incident at Cape Henry Collegiate School in Virginia Beach. I publish here an open letter, written by attorney Timothy Anderson, on behalf of student Connor Amet, to school officials. The letter should be read with caution: It represents Connor’s view, not those of school officials. But if the incidents described are remotely representative of actual events, they should terrify every Virginian who values independent thinking and free expression. — JAB
On October 7, 2020, Connor Amet (“Connor”) was a student at Cape Henry Collegiate School (“Cape Henry”) and was in Mr. [William] Fluharty’s club for global scholars. On that day, Mr. Fluharty commenced a discussion on immigration to the group via Zoom. During that conversation, when there was a discussion about President Trump on immigration and whether immigration is bad/good, Connor weighed in that immigration could have detrimental effects on society. Connor’s opinion was based on his understanding of conflicts that have historically risen in societies that have multicultural immigration policies.
Following this, Mr. Fluharty immediately categorized Connor’s statements that Connor would prefer to have the United States as a sole, Anglo-Saxon society, for which Connor reminded Mr. Fluharty the discussion was about the past and the United States would have better having not brought slaves to the Country. Connor was not saying America would be better off it only white people live here, but in the context of the slave trade era, those circumstances resulted in the Country having more internal conflict. Connor gave examples of historical societies that have had more conflict with multicultural immigration policies versus societies that have homogenous cultural groups. Following that exchange, Mr. Fluharty asked the rest of the group what they thought. Some exchange occurred between other students. Connor stated multiple times during this dialogue that this is an analysis of societies across the planet, not particularly black/white or American. Class then ended.
Connor then went to Health. In that class, a senior student [redacted] who was in the above exchange, confronted Connor about the exchange and accused Connor for wanting just a white society, which Connor again denied.
On October 8, 2020, Connor returned to school. Unbeknownst to Connor, a wave of social medial backlash had circulated throughout the prior evening through gossip and innuendo of other students. Following his first period in French, Connor was summoned to [upper school director Paul] Horgan’s office. Mr. Horgan, alone in the room with Connor, interrogated Connor regarding the exchange the day before with Mr. Fluharty. This exchange lasted more than 10 minutes. Around the 10-minute mark, [director of student life Greg] Angilly entered the room and gave a lecture about diversity and racism. Mr. Horgan told Connor he had been “fed by white supremacists online and was being used as a puppet to intellectualize their arguments.”
This meeting, which lasted approximately 45 minutes, consisted of superior/student chastising of baseless racist allegations, all outside the presence of Connor’s parents. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Angilly asked Connor, an emotional 16 year old boy who is being told by his superiors he is a racist white supremacist, what his consequence should be, even though Connor reiterated numerous times he was neither racist nor a white supremist. Connor suggested being “kicked out of global scholars” or attending a lecture on diversity. Mr. Angilly then stated, “It was not the black population’s job to education white people about diversity.” Mr. Angilly then left.
Mr. Horgan then, again alone with Connor, continued to berate Connor for 15-20 minutes on how his ideas were white supremist. That followed with Mr. Horgan escorting Connor to Headmaster [Christopher] Garran’s office.
In the Headmaster’s office, the Headmaster on multiple occasions told Connor, “if he did not believe diversity is welcomed in the school, then Cape Henry is not the place for him.” Connor responded that he did not take an anti-diversity position. Connor reiterated that this was a conversation about historical societies and his understanding of conflict that existed in homogenous cultural societies versus multicultural societies.
The Headmaster then asked Connor how many black friends he has. Connor responded that since Cape Henry is mostly a white school (88% white) he has attended since he was 4 years old, he has none. The Headmaster then asked what Connor’s opinion on homosexuality is and if Connor has ever made any public comments about gay people, for which Connor replied homosexuality violated his core religious beliefs, but the gestapo should not arrest someone based on their personal sexuality.
For another hour, the Headmaster told Connor if he was not actively anti-racist, then he was racist. The Headmaster continued to ask Connor if he was a racist or an anti-racist, for which Connor responded he was anti-racist. Connor was then advised he was suspended for October 8 and 9 for his comments in Mr. Fluharty’s class and for a restorative process which is described in the next paragraph.
Following the Headmaster exchange, Connor was then directed to go to Mr. Fluharty’s office. Another hour exchange occurred, during which Mr. Fluharty said they were going to pull a special Zoom session the next day, October 9, 2020, with global scholar kids so Connor could apologize to the group. Mr. Fluharty told Connor he must apologize and restated the position of Mr. Horgan that Connor had become indoctrinated by internet based white supremacist ideas. Mr. Fluharty then stated to Connor, “You have become more radically right-winged in the past two years.” Connor was again questioned by Mr. Fluharty about how he felt “being around dark skin people” for his school-sponsored upcoming trip to Greece. Following these reprimands, Mr. Fluharty then directed Connor he must tell the group diversity is good and Connor had to announce to the group he is not a white supremist.
On October 9, 2020, while on suspension at home, Connor addressed the group via Zoom. Connor was then allowed to return to school on October 12, 2020.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Defamation
This is probably the most egregious misuse of supervisory power of administrators of an educational institution by a Gang of Four I have ever reviewed in my career. The factual exchange shocks my personal [conscience] that adult administrators and educators would put a 16-year-old student through such an interrogative process, void of any adult intervention or advocacy, and then suspend the student without even speaking to the parent, has created substantial harm to my client’s reputation amongst the student body.
Connor is 16 years old and has a world view that has been heavily influenced by Cape Henry since he first enrolled at this school at the age of four years old and has continually attended each academic year since. Cape Henry, according to USASCHOOLINFO.COM, has an 88% white population of 835 students, a 4.8% black population, 3% Asian, and a whopping .8% Hispanic and .2% Indian population. In a desperate attempt to show how “diverse” the school is, the Gang of Four jumped at the opportunity to make an example of a 16-year-old white student by taking his words out of context and then publicly humiliating him amongst the student body by labeling him a racist.
A 16-year-old who opines that societies that are homogenous in their culture and political beliefs will have less internal conflict is not a racist statement warranting suspension. Your attempts to declare your mostly white school as diverse by ostracizing a young man and ruining his reputation to show how “diverse” your school is should sicken anyone reading this letter. Connor is not a racist. The Gang of Four abused their offices and positions and created harm to my client, for which is permanent and likely irreparable for at least the remainder of his career at the school. Further, Cape Henry has breached its contract with my client to provide a safe learning environment.
My client has been emotionally traumatized by the incidents of the Gang of Four. You each, in your own individual remarks, comments, and actions, have intentionally inflicted emotional distress to my client. The action of the school to suspend Connor from the public body for events that neither violated any code of conduct or the role of the school is actionable under the law.
According to the stated philosophy of the school and its mission statement, the school seeks to create independent thinkers and globally aware citizens. How can a child possibly form a worldview consistent with this philosophy if suspension awaits the student for making reasonable comments and engagement? The actions of the Gang of Four and the school administration have taken against Connor completely stifle freethinking and free expression in a safe environment. Connor did not cross a line. The four of you did.
My client demands that on or before October 15, 2020 at 5pm, the school make the following statement to the student body universe:
- After a thorough and complete investigation, our findings are that Connor Amet has not violated any policy of this school, and accordingly, his suspension has been reversed and will not appear on his permanent academic record.
- Take further actions to ensure the school does not deem Connor a racist or a white supremacist.
- Connor will be regarded, graded, and treated fairly by all faculty and staff while in class and on CHC sponsored activities.
If the school agrees to this, my client will take no further legal action. However, if the school does not, then Cape Henry Collegiate should expect appropriate litigation to commence; for which the Gang of Four will be named personally for their intentional actions in this matter that have caused extreme distress to my client. This is a simple decision. Include Connor back into the campus without the cloud of racist/white supremacist holding over his head, or alternatively the school will face civil liability for taking a 16-year-old child’s words out of context to set an absurd example of proving how “culturally diverse” the campus is consisting of 88% white students.
Demand to preserve evidence is hereby made. This includes all written documents and recordings of Zoom meetings related and referenced in this matter.
Update: The issue has been settled. Cape Henry and the Amet family issued the following statement:
Cape Henry Collegiate and the Amet Family have met regarding a recent issue that resulted from a classroom discussion. It became the subject of a letter from the Amets’ attorney that subsequently appeared on the Bacon’s Rebellion blog. Without commenting on the letter’s content or the incident that precipitated it, the School and the Amet Family are both satisfied after our meeting. Cape Henry seeks to foster an inclusive environment on our Virginia Beach campus where we focus on individual students and their success, both in the classroom and in life.
The CHC Patriots website invites readers to “support the effort to un-cancel Connor.” All funds go directly to the Amet family for legal expenses. Use this link: https://chcpatriots.org/join to locate the donation button or Click Here.