A self-described “woke” liberal mother was left feeling like she’d “been had” after she trusted a progressive charter school with her daughter’s education. After a teacher introduced the class to a new game, the “woke” mom realized she had made a mistake so big that she pulled her daughter out of the school, claiming she was “let down by the progressive school and politicians.”
When Laura María Gruber, a self-described “woke” liberal who was born in Puerto Rico, enrolled her daughter in KIPP Poder Academy in San Antonio, she hoped her child would be exposed to diversity at the progressive Texas charter school. Unfortunately, Gruber’s child got exposed to more than she ever bargained for when a teacher had her seventh-grade class play a game, where they were told to pose as a “seducing hooker.”
When Gruber’s daughter came home and told her mother that her teacher had instructed the students to play a game called “Bear-Hunter-Hooker” during a Social Emotional Learning class, where students were instructed to pose as a “seducing hooker” during a “team building exercise,” the mother rightfully became concerned.
In the game, which Gruber learned is an adult drinking-game version of Rock-Paper-Scissors, “two participants must strike a pose at the exact same moment – either hands up like a bear, hands positioned as a hunter holding a gun, or as a ‘seducing hooker’ with one hand on the hip and the other behind the ear.”
Gruber was appalled to hear that the progressive charter school was encouraging seventh-grade students — who typically vary in age from eleven to thirteen — to play games with sexual themes and what was also described as “nods to gun violence.” According to Gruber’s daughter, students were bribed with candy to participate in the game, but many were uncomfortable with it, including one child who had previously been sexually assaulted.
“My daughter was so grossed out and embarrassed,” Gruber explained. “She said the boys and the teacher were laughing,” the disgusted mother added. “Another little girl in the class had been sexually assaulted, so the experience was especially cringe for her,” she claimed. “The worst part is that this school is in the inner city and San Antonio is well known as being a child sex trafficking hub.”
The ordeal left Gruber so disturbed that she pulled her daughter out of the charter school the following week, saying she felt let down by the progressive school and politicians.
“The teacher was pretty young, so you can imagine what kind of people are coming out of universities now to teach our kids,” Gruber said. “I really feel like I’ve been had,” the incensed mother added. “I wanted my child to go to this school for the diversity and trusted them. But I didn’t realize it would involve sexual diversity and kids being sexualized.”
Further expressing her concerns, Gruber explained that she was a “woke committed liberal” until the game caused her to have an “aha moment” about the sexualization of children, Fox News reported.
“I was a woke committed liberal until this game and school came into my life… seeing how KIPP exploited Latino children, and then how all the progressive politicians and organizations I sought support from didn’t give this issue a time of day…that really gave me an aha moment as to who’s really doing the work needed to stop the sexualization of kids,” Gruber said.
Determined to get a resolution to the disturbing incident, Gruber battled with the school for nearly six months before KIPP administrators finally admitted that the Bear-Hunter-Hooker game, in which students posed as a “seducing hooker,” was not appropriate for the seventh-grade class and was a mistake.
“While we always chase excellence as a core value, sometimes we stumble,” KIPP Poder Academy principal Stephanie Lee wrote in a letter to families many months after the incident took place. “When we do, we own up to our mistakes, correct wrongs, and commit to do better.” In addition, the letter stated, “The term ‘hooker’ is an unkind word and not one you should use or repeat.”
Although KIPP Poder Academy principal Stephanie Lee confessed that the teacher had the students play the game and admitted that the activity “did not meet” the charter school’s “bar of excellence,” the school denied that the hooker game sexualized the children.
“While the intent was never to sexualize a child, I recognize that impact may have caused students to feel uncomfortable or traumatized,” Lee said. “That does not honor the respect we aim to teach our students at all times; in truth, it is degrading.”
According to Principal Lee, the matter was addressed with the teacher, who “acknowledged and understood the concern and deeply regretted playing this game.” In hopes of correcting the issue, the school said all teachers would undergo additional training on what is “appropriate and inappropriate behaviors with students” and the principal apologized for not addressing the issue sooner.
KIPP, which stands for “Knowledge is Power Program,” is widely regarded as the face of progressive education in the United States. The progressive network of public schools strives to “embrace, honor, and celebrate our differences across race, gender, age, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender orientation, physical abilities, socio-economic class, and other characteristics that construct our unique identities.”
However, Laura María Gruber has a different take on this progressive education system following the game. She is warning others that it’s “predatory,” and the Latina mom wants other Latinos to see her standing against “wokeness.”
“This system, whose claim to fame is offering disadvantaged and at-risk Black and Latino kids equity in education is especially predatory and this game belongs to all of us no matter what point of the moral or political spectrum that we live on,” Gruber said. “I think it’s important that my Latino community see a Latina have an aha moment about wokeness and what it’s really doing to us — and that conservatives are genuinely the ones doing the work, and that our faith is inextricable from our language and parenting and that we have more in common with political conservatives than we do with woke movements trying to dilute our culture.”
I guess this is a reminder to be careful what you wish for. As Laura María Gruber found out, not all “progress” is positive. Instead, the progressive system she once praised, she now calls “ground zero for grooming,” adding that progressive systems have “zero boundaries.” It’s Gruber’s hope that her words push other parents to speak out, and it’s our hope that sharing her words helps to raise awareness so parents can decide what’s right for their children. Do you know what games your school is playing with your child? It might be worth asking.