Principal called ‘BLM Marxist’ for ‘white supremacy’ comment

A high school principal in Oregon was slammed as a “BLM Marxist” for saying education has roots in “white supremacy.”

Melissa Baran stoked rage among the Sherwood School District, located on the outskirts of Portland, for her comments during a Jan. 20 meeting with school board members, KOIN 6 reported.

“Historically, our under-represented students, our most vulnerable students that are experiencing a variety of different circumstances, that the system hasn’t been working for them,” Baran, the principal of Sherwood High School, said.

“Education as a whole was built on the system of oppression and white supremacy, and we are trying to talk about that more. And we’re trying to really examine what is the system moving forward, and how do we make sure that what we’re doing doesn’t perpetuate those differences — doesn’t perpetuate those gaps that we have been talking about as a district for a long time.”

One person ripped Baran, who is black, over her assessment, calling her a “BLM Marxist” in a since-deleted post on the “Sherwood Community Info Group (Original)” Facebook page, the outlet reported.

That prompted a response from the district’s Superintendent Heather Cordie in defense of Baran.

“During that presentation to the board, Mrs. Baran shared true facts — specifically, that the system of education in general, in its current format, does not work for all students, families, or staff members; that the system of education has a historical context of oppression and white supremacy; and that there is a need to move forward in a way that no longer perpetuates systematic marginalization of under-represented student groups,” Cordie wrote in a Jan. 29 letter to the school community.

The comments made by Melissa Baran (pictured) were defended by Superintendent Heather Cordie.
The comments made by Melissa Baran (pictured)
were defended by Superintendent Heather Cordie.

Cordie called the Facebook comment “unacceptable,” saying it was a personal attack.

“Not only was she sharing what we as a leadership team know to be accurate, but she did so vulnerably — as the only black leader in our district,” she said. “None of the other (white) participants in the meeting who concurred with and supported the work discussed by Mrs. Baran were singled out in this post, and this fact speaks volumes about the personal motives behind the post.”

KOIN 6 said the Sherwood school district, once a Republican stronghold that now leans Democratic like Portland’s other southwestern suburbs, has become a “flashpoint” between anti-racist advocates and those against progressive educational policies.

The district shared a list of anti-racist resources on its website following the death of George Floyd last year, with one of the points urging readers to vote for Democrats. The post was later yanked off the site.

In July, protests were held in front of the district offices — an “All Kids Matter” group was on one side of the street and a “Black Kids Matter Unity” group was on the other, KOIN 6 said.

The station reached out to the person behind the “BLM Marxist” comment but his wife said he was out of town.