EXCLUSIVE – A curriculum developed under Yale Medical School is using emotional persuasion tactics to trigger children attending thousands of public schools to become angry about social justice causes and aid them in developing an “intersectional identity,” parents worry.
Fox News Digital reviewed the tightly guarded curriculum, created by the Center for Emotional Intelligence at the medical school’s Child Study Center. Yale’s clients are forbidden from sharing its contents with anyone who is not employed at the district, according to the contract it has signed with partners.
The lessons probed deeply and, oftentimes intrusively, into the student’s emotions, personal relationships, traumas, beliefs and triggers.
“Conversations around triggers and Meta-Moments are an excellent way to discuss power and privilege in who, in our society, is required to regulate more strictly in public spaces. Consider examining stereotypes in the context of emotional regulation as they relate to race, gender, sexuality, religion, and other forms of difference,” the curriculum said.
The Dhillon Law Group threatened one of Yale’s clients – the Newport-Mesa School District – on Monday with litigation, alleging the required invasive curriculum with no opt-out feature uses unlicensed practitioners – teachers – to conduct the invasive counseling sessions on students in violation of federal and constitutional law.
The curriculum encouraged kids to “see red” on their “mood meters,” to be enraged by social justice issues and said educators should bring inflammatory images into classroom to cultivate the rage among their students.
“We most typically associate productive ‘red’ feelings with feelings of perceived injustices (anger) or passion towards a cause; ask students which societal issues put them in the red to better understand how they can engage with their local communities to make change,” the curriculum said.
“[E]mploy strategies to nudge your students towards feeling red when you are preparing to discuss topics such as injustice. To shift your students into the red, consider showing them controversial photographs or news headlines, or consider prompting them with a thought-provoking topic where they are required to choose a side.”
A parent in Newport-Mesa told Fox News Digital, “They’re there intentionally triggering these kids emotionally.”
“The educator essentially gets to define what is just and unjust based on the cultural bias of the day and without regard to any family or student values or beliefs,” the parent added.
Another parent told Fox News the curriculum was a clear and “subversive attempt to socially engineer our children, to create them into social justice warriors.”
In 2019, Yale launched “RULER for All,” the new K-12 curriculum embedded with “culturally responsive pedagogy,” which some critics argue is code for critical race theory. Over 2,500 schools adopted the curriculum as of 2020. New York City’s Department of Education uses Yale’s curriculum as does Rhode Island and Connecticut, who have adopted its courses for its staff and/or students.
“This work identifies… access points for intersectional student identity representations,” Yale’s RULER curriculum said about the goals. “Intersectionality,” a term coined by a critical race theorist named Kimberlé Crenshaw, holds that an oppressed person can be marginalized by multiple systems – such as racism, sexism and homophobia – “simultaneously.”
“RULER… asks students to explicitly examine their own emotional experiences in the context of identity… Student learn how building an awareness… allow them to co-create safe spaces for all students across differences,” it continued.
One section focused on aiding students to recognize societal norms and rules, and taught them those can be defied. “Make sure to explain that even though we call these patters ‘rules,’ we do not need to follow them.”
Students would then be asked to journal, “How has social display rules affected the way you express your emotions, and how does it feel to follow or not follow the rules?”
It went so far as to ask students to enact distressing scenarios. “Students should go beyond explaining how they would express their emotions, and actually practice it with their facial expressions, vocal tones and body language.”
At the same time, the curriculum said students should feel like they were responsible for the emotional safety of others, including in cases of microaggressions.
“[Ask] students to each list one way they could advocate for the safety of others in their classroom,” one of the lessons said.
The exercise to teach students this emotional lesson included “focused breaths,” which is “what puts our lizard brain, that is only trying to keep us safe, to sleep so that our thinking brain can take back over.”
“Incorporate the Best Self Reflection. As you or others take focused breaths, participate in a visualization of your Best Selves. This practice may be particularly helpful when considering events or interactions that are triggering, such as witnessing or being subject to a microaggression… Imagine what your best self would do as an ally, advocate, or understanding person. Notice any thoughts or sensations that come up.”
“The goal of this task is to conduct a scientific experiment to test the effectiveness of deep breaths to calm the body down… It’s important to note that activation may be triggering to some students. Teachers should be aware of the potential effects this activity could have on students with traumatic backgrounds, watch carefully for signs of distress, allow students to opt out at any time… Students will measure the resting heart rate of all students. Then, they will separate students into two categories. The first group will have their limbic systems activated… then they will have their heart rates measured again.”
The curriculum is based on what is known as social and emotional learning (SEL), a billion-dollar industry in K-12 education which claims to develop students’ self-awareness, self-control and interpersonal skills.
A critic of SEL, Lisa Logan, told Fox News Digital that she believes it is a “tool for social engineering.”
“With SEL, you have an educational program stepping into what usually is the parental role of molding and shaping a child’s character. It’s important to ask, then, who gets to decide what these subjective skills they are teaching…. and what are they using the data they’re collecting to assess these skills for?” she said. “When all of the answers to these questions get decided by entities with a specific political agenda, SEL becomes less about character education and more about ‘people fixing’ to create compliant citizens who are influenced to think, feel and act a certain way through the indoctrination techniques practiced through SEL.”
The Center for Emotional Intelligence is run by Yale psychologist Marc Brackett who has stressed in private emails exposed by a disgruntled staffer that RULER’s goal was to have universal appeal, and not an outward bias.
“I only want to make sure RULER is not banned from certain schools… We can’t be in a position that our curriculum is banned. It has to be more neutral,” he said.
Another lesson assigned sixth-graders a persuasive essay or speech “to deliver to school stakeholders that identifies areas of… student emotional safety in their school… as well as propositions for how to improve student emotional safety.”
Through the lesson students will understand, “We can contribute to the emotional climate of our communities by making commitments to help each other and ourselves feel our desired emotions.”
Contributors to the program include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Meta, and other organizations.
Yale did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Newport-Mesa School District said, “This is an evidence-based approach from Yale University that offers tools to help students talk about how emotions matter. Through the RULER approach, students demonstrate collaboration, relationship building, improved decision-making and performance, and greater well-being.”
When Fox News followed up asking for the evidence it based its decisions on, the district proceeded to provide anecdotes.
“We abide by all federal, state, and local laws that govern school districts, including the California Education Code. We also have heard from parents that the mental health and wellness of students is of greatest concern for them, and we remain committed to meeting the needs of our community,” they said.
“We are proud of the work we do to support well-rounded students to achieve success within our classrooms, throughout the community, and future life. We do not shy away from doing what’s best for kids.”