Minnesota superintendent responds to national media scrutiny

Many Sartell families dispute the superintendent's claims, a source close to the situation told Alpha News Monday night. 

Background: Concerned parents attend a school board meeting in Sartell earlier this month. Right: Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover

Likely in response to his district making international news via a viral Monday morning interview on Fox News — first reported last week by Alpha News — Sartell-St. Stephen Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover wrote to parents Monday trying to clarify the situation.

Within the lengthy note, which included bullet point explanations, he discussed the purpose of the infamous audit by Equity Alliance Minnesota (EAM). The new superintendent claimed that students or staff may have “misinterpreted” the directions for the highly-controversial survey that was administered in December.

“The context that was shared — which may have been misinterpreted by students and/or staff — was that students were asked to answer the questions related to their own personal experience and that their answers should reflect their own personal perceptions and not those of classmates, friends or family members,” he said.

Ridlehoover also said students could opt out of the survey ahead of time, and the purpose of the audit from the left-wing group was “to gain insight into the student experience and provide the best possible school experience.”

“Parents/guardians were not prohibited from speaking to their children about the survey nor from viewing the survey while the student was taking it,” he claimed.

Ridlehoover closed by commending teachers and promising to provide all students in the 4,000-person district “with a safe, healthy, academically appropriate learning environment.”

Many Sartell families dispute the superintendent’s claims, a source close to the situation told Alpha News Monday night.

Some parents say their children had similar experiences to Haylee Yasgar with the survey and were “told not to discuss with other groups,” the source said. Other children said they were pulled from class and questioned directly by EAM personnel.

Troy Molitor and Chris Yasgar, who have been leading efforts opposing the audit and critical race theory in local schools, will return to Saint Cloud’s KNSI Radio Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation. They will be accompanied by David Switzer, a St. Cloud State University economics professor, who recently made recommendations about the EAM audit.


A.J. Kaufman
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A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.