By: CORTNEY WEIL | December 19, 2022
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A so-called literacy coach near Chicago is testing the bounds of her free speech rights by creating several videos in which she rails against concerned parents and other “right-wing conspiracy theorist nut jobs” and then posting the condescending videos to TikTok.
Heather Marie Godbout, whose job title claims she is a “literacy coach” at Crete-Monee High School, has posted a series of education-related videos on TikTok under the handle @thatliberaleducator. In various videos, she excoriates conservatives as “people who could know better if they could get out of their own little bubbles” and accuses them of “trying to bring down our democracy and create a Christian nationalist theocracy.”
In one particular video, which has the phrase “Indoctrination? Yes please!” emblazoned at the top and is replete with furrowed brows and audible lip smacks, she claims that it’s “[t]ime to own up to” indoctrinating students.
“All you right-wing conspiracy theory nut jobs who seem to think the teachers are out here just indoctrinating children into some sort of woke agenda that you can’t actually define, I’m just going to come clean,” Godbout begins.
“I am, in fact, indoctrinating your children,” she admits.
She then spends another minute or so clarifying what her version of indoctrination entails.
“I’m indoctrinating children into understanding their own agency and learning how to think critically about the issues that impact their lives,” she says after claiming to foster a love of “reading and books.”
She then appears to have a clarifying moment of self-awareness when she claims to teach students to “not just accept whatever some crazy person on the internet says at face value” but to “do their own research.”
She concludes the video by claiming that her work teaches students “to be loving, kind, compassionate human beings” who will make the world “a better place.” She implies that she presents herself to students as a living model of such behavior.
When viewers criticized Godbout’s condescending approach, she created a follow-up video in which she said she will always refuse to be respectful to people who disagree with her politically — whom she derisively refers to as “those people” — because “they’re talking about legislation that will literally unlive people.” She also accused one of her critics of “tone-policing” and of shutting “down conversation, especially from people in marginalized groups.“
Godbout elsewhere stated that she does not fear reprisal from her employer for the videos, claiming, “[M]y administrators fully support my First Amendment rights to free speech on my own social media platforms.“