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March 20, 2023

The True History of the Founding of Lake Highland Preparatory School

We can all agree that Lake Highland Prep is a superior school. The education, athletics, and arts as well as the faculty and facilities compel us to send our children there, support the school financially and imbue the alumni with pride. From its humble beginnings in 1970, with 325 students to over 2,000 students today the school has succeeded in “instilling Christian values, inspiring patriotism, developing leaders, and preparing students for college and lifelong learning” – Mission Statement

In March of 2021, that pride in their school was sullied for many alumni by a letter sent from then President Harms. The letter (below) was sent only to LHPS’s alumni in support of the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. It’s curious that they didn’t send the letter to all parents. As such, LHPS leadership revised the history of the school’s founding with “no definitive documents” and stated, “given the mid-century political and cultural climate in America and especially Florida, it seems undeniable that some parents’ strong desire to remove their children from segregated (sic) public schools influenced the birth of Lake Highland Preparatory School.”

This premise gives rise to many questions:

  1. If LHPS was founded as a segregated school, why has our school always accepted students of all Races, Color, Religions, and National Origins?

  2. If a school offers a superior education, how can one question a parent’s motives for sending their children there?

  3. Are there parents today that send their children to Lake Highland to avoid public schools?

  4. What is the reason for questioning the motives and mind-sets of the founders and parents of 50 year ago?

The answer to the last question is clear. The motive for rewriting the school’s history is to undermine its foundation to justify adding DEI to a school that has always been inclusive and successfully practiced its Mission Statement that reads, “Within an atmosphere of love, concern, and mutual respect…” This rewriting of LHPS origins and instituting DEI ideology was introduced during the COVID Pandemic without parent input using methodologies obtained from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

How do we know their claims on LHP’s founding are erroneous? Because we have reviewed the documents that the school’s leadership used to make their claims. We have talked to alumni and a leader and former board member who were there when the school was founded. We found no proof that LHPS’s founding was for racial purposes. In fact, we found just the opposite.

Lake Highland Preparatory School is in the top ten of private schools in Florida per the website, Lake Highland (#9) ranks up there with Ransom Everglades School (#1), Berkley Preparatory School (#5) and Trinity Prep (#10). Each of these schools has a comprehensive website that affirms its attributes. Non-associated sites like Wikipedia also promote the positive aspects of the schools typically including a brief mention of their founding. Lake Highland’s Wiki page is the exception to that norm.

Lake Highland’s leadership has tarnished its history by rewriting the school’s founding history. A visit to Wikipedia’s Lake Highland Preparatory School page shows the school described as: “… founded as an all-white school in 1970 by the board of a whites-only, Christians-only junior college. Click on this link to your: Lake Highland Preparatory School - Wikipedia, Wiki page continues with extensive detail under the History tab to infer that since the previous school on this campus was a segregated private college (Orlando Junior College or OJC) then Lake Highland Prep must have followed the pattern of a “segregation academy.” Not true!

Let’s clear up Orlando Junior Colleges (OJC) relationship to the founding of LHPS. LHP’s founders purchased OJC for the sole purpose of obtaining the property to start a new school. OJC and LHPS were totally separate entities. LHPS is its own non-profit with by-laws and a mission statement that have maintained the same nonracially biased integrity from the very beginning.

One can only assume that Lake Highland provided the detailed information published on Wikipedia. The same school that wrote in President Harms March 25, 2021, letter: “Although many leaders of OJC were responsible for founding LHP, we found no definitive documents that indicated discrimination in either LHP’s establishment, its inaugural administrative policies, or its admission process.” While other top ten schools applaud their founders, Lake Highland denigrates theirs. What is the purpose of exposing unsubstantiated theories about the establishment of your school if not to discredit its foundation and vilify previous leaders to justify current doctrines?

For over fifty years, Lake Highland has grown and prospered. It wasn’t until interim-president Alfred Harms (2017-2022), that the school embraced the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) ideology of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The DEI Department at Lake Highland has grown from a single director to four people including an administrative assistant to the director, a Middle School Division Coordinator, and an Upper School Division Coordinator. The latter two are also teachers. All these workers to ensure diversity at a diverse school with no history of racial bias is a misuse of valuable resources.

It is well and good that our school continues to evolve, and we talk about and teach our students about prejudice and racism. Schools have been doing this for years and each generation improves in their acceptance of others. We should all be judged by the content of our character. The ideology of classifying people by their identities and then using those classifications to be diverse, equitable and inclusive is as prejudiced and racist as the intolerance DEI purports to correct.

Lake Highland must get back to the founding principles and established practices that contributed to its long-term success. The changes made during COVID do not move the school forward, rather they indoctrinate our students with identity ideology and reduce the number of parents that want to send their children to Lake Highland. The recent changes in the school’s procedures including DEI and its association with the NAIS need to be removed.

For more information on NAIS clink on this link: News Blogs | LHPS Watch

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February 2023


Parents Defending Education

Modern-day indoctrination in private schools

The National Association of Independent Schools, a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. representing over 1,600 private schools, offers a window into how school associations can bring new 21st-century indoctrination and activism into schools.

Learning about a school’s associations and affiliations gives parents a sense of a school’s priorities and practices because private school associations are often as ideologically captured as public school districts.

According to its 2019 IRS 990 filing, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) says it “co-creates the future of education by uniting and empowering our community.”

But upon closer inspection, it is clear that the association connects a woke-industrial complex of affiliated associations and accreditors, consultants, search and hiring firms, and education companies to its member-“independent” schools through its relationships with woke donors and foundations, board of trustees, “career center” jobs board, resources such as its “Principles of Good Practice (PGPs)” guidance and “Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM)” survey tool and multiple conferences throughout the year, including its “flagship” People of Color Conference each December.

Affiliated associations and accreditors

The NAIS uses the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA), the association for accreditors which was formerly a department within NAIS called the Commission on Accreditation, to influence curriculum and teaching methods of member schools, under the guise of “quality assurance and accountability.”

For more detailed information on NAIS go to this link: National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) - Parents Defending Education


September, 2022

The meaning of “belonging” according to Jesus On LH’s website the new DEI department created and posted a warm and beautiful video explaining what it means to belong at LH. The message and sentiment of this video is a perfect reflection of LH’s Mission Statement, Honor Code and its long history of celebrating the biblical virtues known as the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). To see it click on “About” and then “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” in the drop-down menu. The sense of belonging expressed in that video is the Christian meaning of acceptance and tolerance embraced and practiced by LH since its founding in 1970. After watching the video, however, recall that in 2020 LH leadership removed the words “Christian Values” and replaced them with the words “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” at this very same location on the school’s website. That is, on its webpage where LH leadership self-describes the school and the source of its core principals, LH leadership supplanted “Christian Values” with DEI values. Recall, also that they simultaneously created the DEI Directorship and DEI Committee and empowered them to install DEI doctrine into every aspect of LH’s pedagogy and curriculum. Also simultaneously, they removed LH parents’ ability to see the syllabus of the classes taught at LH, thereby forever blinding them to any changes the DEI Director/Committee make to the curriculum. We have asked numerous questions, numerous times, as have other parents and alum, yet none have even been acknowledged, much less answered, by LH leadership. These include: -Why does LH leadership believe Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are superior to and should supplant the values of Christ? -Does LH leadership even understand what DEI is, according to the people and organizations who unapologetically promote it? -Where would LH’s leadership have gotten the idea to replace Christian values with the new DEI mantra? and -What does Diversity, Equity & Inclusion look like in practice once it is fully and formally put in place at LH? LH leadership refuses to answer the first question, and we can only charitably assume the answer to the second is “No”. The answer to the third question is the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), a Washington DC based lobbying and DEI advocacy group targeting private K-12 schools across America for the past 3 decades. The NAIS plays no role in LH’s accreditation. However, recently LH’s leadership reaffirmed the school’s voluntary membership and use of NAIS’s resources and seminars on page 1 of the LH 2022-23 Middle & Upper School Student Handbook. The fourth question above is perhaps the most important and apropos the LH DEI video on belonging. What would Diversity, Equity and Inclusion look like in practice if fully implemented at LH? In other words, given the LH trustee’s replacement of Christian Values with the values of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, what would it mean to “belong” at LH in the future? The answer can be found by looking at how DEI is practiced at the NAIS’s seminars, like its annual “flagship” conference the People of Color Conference (PoCC). The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies and course materials of the PoCC are archived at NAIS’s website , or quoted verbatim at our website at under the section NAIS PoCC Courses. Below we quote only a fraction of the NAIS PoCC seminar materials. Remember, the NAIS is the source of the new DEI Director/Committee structure adopted in 2020 at LH. Also remember, LH sends our teachers and students to the NAIS’s PoCC for “leadership training” where they are taught how to bring back and teach to our children (as young as Pre-K) what they learn. The meaning of “belonging” according to DEI All attendees at the PoCC are segregated according to the color of their skin. In fact, everyone is told that their “psychological safety” depends upon maintaining this racial segregation. (We are left wondering if a similar meaning of “safe space” is intended in LH’s DEI video) Diversity, Equity & Inclusion means that if you have the wrong skin color then you do not belong in the meetings of people who have the right skin color, even if your spouse or child has the correct skin color and, themselves, do belong. Here is a verbatim quote from NAIS’s PoCC written seminar policy, Which Affinity Group Should I Attend?, in place at PoCC since 2007: …To preserve the safety and integrity of each Affinity Group space, you should attend only those sessions that correspond with the racial and ethnic identity to which you belong. Affinity Groups at PoCC are not spaces to learn about the racial or ethnic identity of others, including that of a child, spouse, or partner. Trying to attend an Affinity Group to which you do not belong is an intrusion and you will be asked to leave out of care and respect for the members' psychological safety and well-being. The NAIS calls these racially and ethnically segregated groups “affinity groups”. LH formally adopted the NAIS’s PoCC policy of exclusion with respect to its own race-based student groups when it created the DEI Director and Committee. LH’s policy states: “Some meetings [of LH affinity groups] will be closed, with only those who share a particular affinity invited to participate.” -See link to LH policy statement “Why Affinity Groups” on in section Understanding Woke-Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. It also turns out that according to the meaning of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the NAIS’s PoCC one specific racial group does not even belong at the conference. Since 2007, the NAIS has complained that there are too many white people at a conference admittedly designed for everyone, except white people. In 2007 the NAIS explained why they abandoned the Christian meaning of “diversity” and “inclusion” which Americans incorrectly and naively assume is meant by DEI and redesigned the PoCC: “The need to redesign the conference was borne out of several driving forces: -the “dilemmathe ongoing issue of what to do about the ever-growing presence of white allies at a conference designed for people of color; -the realization that the conference focus was shifting more and more toward a diversity conference and away from its original mission. Contrast how advocates of DEI define belonging when its fully implemented, as at the NAIS PoCC, with the video from LH’s DEI director/committee discussing what it means to belong at LH. According to the DEI advocates at the NAIS PoCC-who trained the DEI advocates in LH’s DEI program-the meaning of belonging excludes one racial group because their mere presence is a “dilemma” capable of “psychological harm” to everyone else. At the 2019 PoCC DEI described the presence of white people as the “white elephant in the room” and classes were taught discussing this “problem”. DEI fully formed at LH, like DEI in practice at the PoCC, would necessarily involve teaching LH students to see themselves and everyone around them thru the lens of race, with one particular race being a “problem”, a “dilemma”, and worse. The introduction to the 2019 PoCC stated: “The NAIS [PoCC] is an important opportunity for educators at every level to embrace equity thru a racial lens” What is clear is that the decision by LH’s trustees to supplant and replace Christian values with the mantra of DEI is an explicit rejection of the Christian meaning of belonging; an explicit rejection of the wisdom of MLK of pursuing a color-blind community, in favor of race-based group categorizations and racial segregation. And we know DEI explicitly rejects Jesus’, and MLK’s, meaning of belonging because the advocates of DEI at NAIS say so explicitly. For instance, a 2011 PoCC class titled “There is No Such Thing as Colorblindness” makes this clear and undeniable. Moreover, every PoCC seminar since 2007 instructs teachers to encourage students to develop a racial group-based identity. Well, except for one specific, inferior racial group. Specifically, while DEI in practice promotes the development of a positive race-based group identity for students “of color”, white students are told they suffer from an ephemeral, but ineliminable racial trait called “whiteness”. According to orthodox NAIS DEI dogma, “whiteness” most definitely does NOT belong anywhere. DEI demands white students “interrogate their whiteness” and their “white privilege”. According to orthodox DEI pedagogy, as practiced at NAIS’s PoCC, this immutable, congenital moral defect called ‘whiteness’ is a defect in just one racial group and must be “eliminated” in order to achieve the “Equity” in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Again, LH leadership uses the NAIS to train its DEI Director, DEI Committee, its teachers and students, and in 2020 LH created the DEI Director and Committee as recommended by the NAIS so as to re-write its entire curriculum and pedagogy according to DEI values. Conclusion So, we certainly enjoyed the video produced by LH’s new DEI Director/Committee defining the meaning of belonging within an atmosphere of love, concern and mutual respect at LH. But know that every word and feeling expressed in that video was part of LH long before DEI was smuggled into LH. More importantly, the sense of belonging expressed in that video is traced directly back to the values of Jesus Christ, which had served LH well for its first 50 years, before the LH trustees supplanted them with the divisive, toxic dogmas of DEI. Most important, don’t be fooled by this PR from LH’s new DEI department. A common strategy of Woke advocates of DEI is to use the words, concepts and phrases we all love and are familiar with-like belonging, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion-to ingratiate themselves into and then transform our institutions. They seek to take credit for the traditions-in this case long standing Christian traditions at LH-that have served us so well in the pursuit of color-blind integration, tolerance and acceptance of individual differences. Yet, as we show here and at DEI categorically rejects color-blind tolerance and acceptance of individuals, free from group based pigeon holing. We discuss this deceptive strategy of the Woke in detail at, in the section Understanding Woke. Supporters of DEI share our vocabulary, but not our dictionary. They use so called “cross over words”; familiar words but with new and different race-based meanings designed so that organization leaders will adopt DEI into the organization’s formal structure, where they are then used in their woke meaning as established policy to completely transform the organization. DEI’s definition of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging do not mean what you think they mean. Simply look at DEI in practice at the NAIS’s PoCC. The truth is that the deceptive mantra of DEI adds nothing to LH’s proud history of educating and integrating students of every race, creed, and orientation in a tolerant, color blind, merit-based atmosphere. DEI gets no credit for any of that and is not needed as a replacement of LH’s traditional Christian principals. LH does not need instruction from the morally appalling NAIS, or its supporters, on how to create an atmosphere of belonging with love, concern and mutual respect for everyone, of every skin color. The Bible has all the instruction LH has ever needed. Truth be told, the DEI which LH’s trustees foisted on us in 2020 is patently racist, divisive and toxic to creation of exactly such an atmosphere. This is undeniable to anyone who bothers to review the NAIS’s own PoCC course materials, which we have charitably assumed no one in LH leadership as actually bothered to do. But it is impossible now for LH leadership to deny that they have imported these race-based dogmas of DEI into our school. It is long past time they recognize DEI was never needed, and DEI values have no place today in LH’s pedagogy, administrative structure or curriculum. LH’s trustees have no excuse for not immediately cutting all association with the racist, morally backward-looking organization, the NAIS, ridding LH of the NAIS’s recommended DEI Director/Committee regime from its administrative structure, and restoring Christian values in its public self-description and as the source of its core principals and mission.


Concerned alumni, parents and grandparents

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