Social, Emotional Learning…what is it really all about?

By Brian Massie – Riverside School District taxpayer, Watchman on the Wall

We have started to get more involved with the Protect Ohio Children group. They are against the Social, Emotional Learning Curriculum that is permeating Ohio schools.

Lobbyists for Citizens and Protect Ohio Children are concerned with the sexualization of children through Comprehensive Sex Education (Planned Parenthood curriculum) that SEL uses to promote abortion, contraceptives, and gender ideology (to name a few).  We are also concerned about the massive data collection through surveys, mental health services, acceptance of radical racial ideologies and the promotion of false concepts that create division between parents and children, and undermine parental authority and parental rights.

In 2019, the Superintendent of Public Instruction published the Ohio Department of Education’s Social-Emotional Learning Standards.

ODE Social-Emotional Learning Standards

Excerpt from the SEL Standards:

“What do we mean by social-emotional learning? Human beings are social creatures. That means in society, successfully interacting with other people is essential to the effective functioning of a community, a workplace and even a family. People need to know how to successfully interact with each other, establish and maintain positive relationships, feel and show empathy, understand and manage their emotions and set and achieve positive goals. Social-emotional learning improves children’s mental health and helps them avoid risky decisions, make healthy choices and stay drug free.”

I received the following SEL Learning Survey after giving them my contact information:

Here is a report on the 15 harmful effects of Social, Emotional Learning:


LFC Editorial Opinion: I ask you if you think the role of the public (government) schools is to teach the children anything other than academics – historically known as the 3 R’s? Does the collapse of the American family mean that government schools must now step in and indoctrinate the children to the government’s values / standards of how to interact with others and how to make decisions?

Much to the dismay of a personal family member, I must quote Jesus Christ with this Bible verse: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to sin, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”…Matthew 18:6

I wanted to see what is being done about SEL in our local Riverside School District, I took the following video at a recent school board meeting. At the meeting, School Board members Scott Fishel and Tom Hach tried, once again, to get the SEL curriculum, cloaked in the teachers’ guide named “Responsive Classroom”, removed from the school district. However, the three liberal, far left, school board members, Jennifer Harden, Belinda Grassi, and Board President Lori Krenisky voted to keep this curriculum in the school district.

For the record, I have previously asked Ms. Grassi and Ms. Harden to step down as board members for, in my opinion, conduct unbecoming a board member for their postings I observed on their Facebook account. I also asked the board chairman to review their conduct, but my request was ignored by her. Ms. Krenisky’s board seat will be on the November 2023 election.

The following is Dr. Melissa Mlakar’s, Director of Curriculum, response to our email asking for clarification on her statement made at the school board meeting. We thank Dr. Mlakar for her quick response, and transparency dealing with this matter.


Mr. Massie-

Mr. Platko asked me to respond to your public record request for written policies on only teaching the ‘good things’ (quotes per your email) from the social-emotional learning standards.  Currently, Riverside Local School District has no such written policy.  Instead, when curriculum, a program, or training is proposed, it is presented to the Curriculum and Programs Committee to vet.  Once the Committee has had an opportunity to review the proposed curriculum, program, or training, and gives their approval, the program, curriculum, or training is put on the Board of Education meeting agenda for approval by all Board of Education members.  This was the process followed for the implementation of Responsive Classroom training for teachers.

With regard to the ‘equity’ (quotes per your email) parts of the curriculum, I am not sure what you are referring to.  I have included the link to the Social-Emotional Learning Standards from the Ohio Department of Education, which do not reference equity.  The main topics included in these standards are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.  Based on input from teachers and feedback from businesses and employers in the area, these are skills that students are lacking.  It is Riverside’s goal to meet the needs of students to help make them employable, productive members of society after graduation.

In response to the need to build these skills in students, the Riverside Board of Education, in April 2021 and again in April 2023, supported the implementation of the training of teachers and staff in Responsive Classroom.  The 4 domains of Responsive Classroom are Engaging Academics, Positive Community, Developmentally Responsive Teaching, and Effective Management.  Teachers utilize the morning meeting at the elementary level and the advisory period at the middle school level to engage students in establishing a sense of community within their classrooms and school.  Establishing rules, managing conflict, and effective communication are skills that teachers work on with groups of students, as well as individuals who need more direct instruction.  

As has been discussed by the members of the Board of Education, the skills included in these standards are necessary for K-12 success, as well as post-secondary success.  Clear and open communication, managing one’s behavior and decisions, and becoming a critical thinker are skills that must be developed in students.  We have been, and continue to be, transparent about the skills we are teaching.  We are not changing language or incorporating misleading curriculum, programs, or training.

Thank you for continuing to provide accurate information to the parents and community members of Riverside Local Schools.  Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.

Dr. Mlakar   


LFC Comments: Here is confirmation that Social, Emotional Learning is definitely part of the “Responsive Classroom” curriculum. Note that the number 1 Guiding Principal is:

“Teaching social and emotional skills is as important as teaching academic content”

Teaching the government’s values to the children is equal to “Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic”!

Dr. Mlakar stated that “Equity” is not part of the SEL training, or included in the “Responsive Classroom” curriculum. We completely disagree with her statement.

Here is a document titled “Creating Equity Using the Responsive Classroom Approach” that clearly states that “Equity” is part of the curriculum. “Equity” is not the same as “Equality”.

What does all this mean, and why is it happening?

In my opinion, it means that the government schools are treading into areas, heretofore, reserved for the parents. Our research into the proficiency scores of Lake County’s government schools indicates that, exclusive of the Kirtland School District, they are mediocre to abysmal. Math proficiency is less than 60%. Now that the schools will spend as much time on the SEL training as the academics, the proficiency scores are sure to suffer.

Please consider the following attacks we have seen on the children in Lake County Schools:

  1. The pornographic books and material in government schools,
  2. Teaching that being male or female is optional,
  3. Allowing children to declare their personal pronouns,
  4. Boys may compete in girls’ sport and use the girls’ bathroom and locker room,
  5. And the coup de grâce – keep it all from the parents..

It is logical to assume that this chaos is all planned to ultimately destroy America from within.

The following is from the article “How to destroy a Nation, by Colonel Dan, SASS #24025, Life/Regulator

To shape future generations, control the schools: Incrementally indoctrinate the children with principles that are sympathetic to your philosophy.  Make future generations weak in mind, body and spirit.  Avoid teaching children the basic facts about their own history, constitution or rights.  Teach them that natural aggression is wrong and docile submission is right.  Teach them that any basis of a moral foundation, like the principles of religion, is a weakness to be avoided in the name of freedom and also redefine the concept of patriotism to support your views.  Teach them to cast off old values and traditions in the interest and name of sensitivity—after all, we wouldn’t want to offend anyone with our old fashioned or traditional beliefs now would we?  And guns, guns are wicked, dangerous, and socially unacceptable—an evil that must be eradicated from society—for the good of the children of course.”

The ultimate irony is that these lies, deceptions and betrayals are being financed by local citizens through their property taxes. Between 60% – 65% of property taxes are for school funding. There is no question in my mind that if we stay on the path of ever-increasing property taxes, we are going to price seniors and those on fixed incomes out of their homes they have worked all their lives to achieve.

So where do we go from here? How do we get government schools back on the right path?

First, there has to be a change in the selection of school board members. The new members cannot just be “rubber stamps” for the school administrators. They must be willing to protect the children from pornography, transgender ideology, and any other destructive behavior and refocus on the true and factual academics rather than teaching government school values.

The children belong to the parents not to the government schools. Collecting data on the children must be prohibited, or eventually the government will be steering the children into their profession, rather than the children having the freedom of choice.

We would like to see government schools competing for the children, and parents having the choice where to send their children to school. They can choose the school that has values that most closely align with their family values. This would mean a change in State legislation on how the schools are to be funded.

I ask, once again, what are our elected officials going to do to protect the children?

What are you going to do to protect the children?




Categories: Education, Riverside S.D., Uncategorized