Derry residents rise in opposition to Pinkerton academy Stockbridge theater appearance by Alok Vaid Menon. We oppose the appearance by Alok Vaid Menon (AVM) for three main reasons:
1. Alok Vaid Menon minimizes child sexual abuse in a way that is the same as what sexual abusers do to groom child sex abuse victims.
In 2016, AVM was one part of the artistic duo called Darkmatter. In this capacity, the other duo member and Vaid Menon made a Facebook post that described little girls as kinky and deviant and described child sex abuse victims with quotations around the word as if to indicate they did not really consider them victims and questioned their purity. “There are no fairy tales and no princesses here,” they wrote.
This language and manipulation of the truth could have come straight out of a guidebook on how to groom and prepare children for sex abuse and how to teach people close to those children how to also minimize child sex abuse. It goes beyond a merely irresponsible and indefensible idea to propagate, it leaves sex abuse victims deeply offended and insulted.
For this reason alone, this performer should not still be hailed as an educator and brought in by Pinkerton Academy to speak to students here. We are told an apology was made-but what does it say? It is nowhere to be found. How much or if it addresses the deeply concerning idea that little girls are both kinky and not actual victims of sexual abuse and that is the logical inference of placing the word victim in quotes-is wholly unknowable to the public.
2. Alok Vaid Menon incorrectly states that all white people are white supremacists by birth.
The idea promulgated by AVM that the two biological genders and motherhood by white women are developments created by white people to perpetuate white supremacy is not only scientifically impossible, it is also a blatantly racist statement. It accuses all white people of participating in white supremacy simply by having been born or giving birth.
Do the Pinkerton Headmaster, Board of Trustees, and staff share this offensive and racist opinion? If not, why did they create and publicize this event and invite Alok Vaid Menon to share it?
3. Pinkerton Academy is taxation without real representation. Derry and the other sending towns of Hampstead, Hooksett, Chester, Auburn, and Candia have no representatives elected by and accountable to the people who pay tuition. At the very least, considering this, Pinkerton should be more sensitive to community concerns but they have shown that they are not.
Derry residents circulated an online petition asking Pinkerton Headmaster Tim Powers and the Board of Trustees to cancel the performance by Alok Vaid Menon. 845 people signed it. An online petition is an unusual vehicle for tuition payers to resort to having their voices heard but there are few to no other practical ways.
Pinkerton is a private high school that has no elected school board, their Board of Trustees does not hold their meetings in public nor do they allow parents of students to attend or observe their meetings. They do not share where or when those meetings happen with their parent community as a true private school would do. In this climate, it is impossible to know what will happen next or what the larger plan and strategy of the school is.
A true private school would need to compete for students and would naturally be more accountable to the parents of those who choose to send their children there.
Instead, there is no overall parent-teacher organization and no school board members to contact as would be the case in a public school. When elected representatives from Derry repeatedly called Headmaster Powers regarding this issue, he never called them back.
The community liaison to Pinkerton Academy from the town council, Neil Wetherbee, said he had no control over what Pinkerton does. The chairman of the Derry Town Council, James Morgan, echoed that sentiment in a recent town council meeting. The Derry Cooperative School Board is elected and enters into the contract with Pinkerton Academy but they share a similar lack of power as well.
Alok Vaid Menon recently spoke at a public university and only because it was a public school, the amount AVM received was made public. AVM was paid five thousand dollars for a two-hour presentation.
How much is AVM being paid by taxpayer funds by Pinkerton Academy? Nobody will tell us and it’s doubtful AVM works for free. Donations will be asked for by those attending the online performance. How much is raised and how much of that will go to reimbursing Pinkerton Academy for the taxpayer funds used to create the event?
The maintenance of everything that goes into the artist’s appearance isn’t free. It takes publicity, website and social media maintenance, the salaries of those who do that work, electricity, online meeting resources and none of that is provided for free. In a town where there is no taxpayer-funded trash pick-up, we have to wonder how the costs to give such a controversial figure a platform here can be justified.
Is Stockbridge Theater even a for-profit or not-for-profit institution?
The handling of this situation has been terrible. There has been an intentional disregard for the expressed concerns of those who have contacted the headmaster and the taxpayers of this community. We ask that Headmaster Tim Powers and the Board of Trustees examine their position in our community and in the future work towards better implementation of these positions and a closer reflection of the will of the people they serve.
NH State Representative Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien (cell 603 339 4598) NH State Representative David Love (cell 603 275 9851) Lauren LaMarsh, Derry