Teacher Issues Warning About New DHS ‘Media Literacy’ Program, ‘Indoctrinating Children’

Ramona Bessinger, a high school teacher from Providence, Rhode Island, has pulled back the curtain on a DHS-funded program called Courageous RI, which she claims is aimed at indoctrinating children and promoting media literacy under the guise of combating disinformation.

The University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab initiative, funded by a DHS grant of over $700,000, is marketed as a K-12 teacher training program.

However, Bessinger’s account paints a different picture, revealing that the program is “so much more than media literacy” and has a significant impact on how educators interact with students and utilize them as reporting sources.

Courageous RI’s website acknowledges the support it receives from the Department of Homeland Security and claims to work towards preventing rising violence and extremism in Rhode Island through authentic and respectful conversation.

The “Courageous Conversations” curriculum encourages participants to confront various forms of disinformation, hoaxes, and propaganda that permeate everyday life.

It emphasizes the importance of critically analyzing media messages that shape public opinion about education and the power of media literacy as a civic skill.

During her training, Bessinger, who is a conservative, noticed that Courageous RI was “hyper-focused” on former President Trump, holding him responsible for all social media and media disinformation and inspiring violent extremism.

The program seemingly ignored left-wing extremism, instead focusing on “violent extremist MAGA Republicans” and “Republican elites” who, according to the curriculum, utilize conspiracy theories.

Bessinger’s report reveals that Courageous RI’s online curriculum takes aim at “Republican elites” including Trump, accusing them of “utilizing conspiracy theories in a way unprecedented in the last half century of American politics.”

The curriculum goes on to argue that while Republican elites may have recently activated conspiratorial predispositions among supporters in the mass public, they are unlikely to cause non-conspiratorial supporters to become highly conspiratorial.

Bessinger also raises concerns about the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, which she fears will expand surveillance of political speech at the school level.

She warns of other programs like NewsELA, which encourages educators to incorporate news articles and current events into their teachings but aggregates left-wing, progressive news stories.

Furthermore, she points out that Courageous RI promotes “Performative Activism and Protests,” encouraging teachers to instruct children on how to stage student walk-outs and protests.

William Jacobson, a Cornell law professor and founder of the Legal Insurrection blog and the Equal Protection Project, has called on the House of Representatives to investigate this DHS program.

He believes that media literacy being taught in schools, particularly programs like Courageous RI that receive DHS funding, can be a “Trojan Horse,” turning educators and students into “de facto government informers.”

In response to these concerns, a spokesperson for the DHS has stated that the purpose of the Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program, which awarded Courageous RI funds, is to ensure safe and secure communities through prevention of violence.

The TVTP Grant Program and grant recipients are legally and ethically required to adhere to policies and procedures that prohibit discrimination based on any protected class or belief.

In light of these revelations, parents should seriously consider pulling their children from any school that implements the Courageous RI program.

The government has no business indoctrinating children on which media sources to prefer or promoting specific political ideologies.

As concerned citizens, it is crucial that we remain vigilant and protect our children from potential government overreach and indoctrination.