Rhode Island Teacher Warns DHS-Funded Program Will ‘Indoctrinate Children’

Rhode Island educator Ramona Bessinger is speaking out against a new program funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) called “media literacy.” After attending a training at the University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab, Bessinger warns that the program will “indoctrinate children.”

“The training is not what it purports to be. It’s all about training teachers to teach students to become ‘disinformation’ informers. I know. I took the training,” Bessinger wrote for the “Legal Insurrection” website.

Bessinger identifies as a conservative and stated that the training she attended focused on former President Donald Trump as “the root cause of social media and media disinformation.” She believes that the people who designed the curriculum did not try to hide their bias against Trump and against conservative politics.

In September 2023, Bessinger and others attended a 12-week online training course put on by “Courageous Rhode Island.” The training, promoted as media literacy, was funded by a $700,000 grant from DHS.

“Some teachers complained about their students with opposing views. According to one facilitator, these students were part of the ‘outer-group’ and would need to be brought back into the ‘inner-group’ specifically conservative students that may have outwardly expressed support for Trump,” Bessinger wrote.

“These students were considered ‘violent extremist MAGA Republicans’ in the making.  At every juncture, Trump was attacked and used to make the point that ‘violent extremism’ and “disinformation” were a result of ‘influencing entrepreneurs’ like Trump,” Bessinger added.

The “Courageous Rhode Island” website admits to receiving funds from the DHS and states that the organization “works to prevent rising violence and extremism in Rhode Island with authentic and respectful conversation.”

A DHS spokesperson sent Fox News a statement that read in part, “Violence prevention is non-partisan and ideologically agnostic. 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.”

Meanwhile, this is not the first time Bessinger has taken the role of whistleblower against a government-sponsored program. In July 2021 she blew the whistle on how a new critical race curriculum was creating racial hostility in the middle school where she worked.