Watertown teacher refuses to use students’ favorite names, gives students candy and DVDs to promote his ‘spiritual truths’ in public school

Stel Kline, formerly of South Dakota Public Broadcasting, find this news on Twitter, courtesy of Watertown motorcycle enthusiast Lee Bruns, a Watertown High School German teacher who responded to students asking him to call them by names different from their official names on the list of school with this letter, accompanied by a DVD and sweets:

Photo of a letter from German teacher Calvin Hillesland, addressed to anonymous students at Watertown High School, April 2022. Posted by Lee Bruns, Twitter2022.04.25.

Expensive _____

I hope now you know me well enough to be able to trust me.

I respect you.

I encourage you.

I want what’s best for you.

If there was a rattlesnake under a pile of leaves in the path ahead of you, I hope you could easily imagine me running ahead to warn you.

If your house was on fire, I hope you could believe that I would try to help you out.

That’s kind of what’s happening now.

When you asked me to call your friends by male names and I started trying to do it, I was wrong. It was a lie.

I didn’t warn you about the rattlesnake.

I didn’t try to save you from your burning house.

I hope you’ll forgive me – and I want to “change things” now.

And like I said, I hope you’ll trust me.

I realize that what you are feeling says something totally different.

But feelings are like a mirage. You dare not trust them to guide you. They do not accurately reflect reality.

So what is the reality? what is the truth? How can you know the truth with certainty?

Well, biologically every cell in your body is —feminine—feminine. This is the biological truth. The same is true for your friends.

And it is the truth that I want to encourage you to pursue. That’s what a good teacher does, isn’t it?

The DVD will explain everything more clearly than I do, spiritual as well as scientific facts. The candy is a symbol of the sweetness that hope and prayer will lead you to discover.

Immerse Alles Gute!

Dein Deutschlehrer—M. H

[German teacher Calvin Hillesland, to unnamed students at Watertown High School, April 2022. Posted by Lee Bruns, Twitter, 2022.04.25]

Well, I guess the teacher is taking a step back from the bullying position of the governor’s office that transgender is like terrorism by simply comparing transgender to a deadly snake, or a deadly fire, or a lie from which he must bravely save his emotionally deluded students.

Interestingly, this letter does not appear to have been given to a transgender student; the text indicates that Hillesland was writing to a student, for whom he professes respect and support and whose trust and forgiveness he implores. This student apparently asked Hillesland to refer to her friends by male names even though Hillesland thinks their cells are female.

But Bruns says the above message was delivered in person on the public school grounds and via public school email. The post says it came with a DVD featuring “spiritual…facts.” This teacher therefore seems to have used his position in a public school to access students and not only teach these students a religion, something outside of his mission as a language teacher, but also encourage them to accept his own spiritual beliefs as a fact.

So there’s something here to set everyone’s alarm bells ringing. Leftists may complain about Hillesland’s disrespect of individual gender identification. Republicans can freak out about candy and grooming language. And anyone who appreciates the healthy separation of church and state may wonder why a public school teacher is allowed to proselytize during school hours.

Mr. Hillesland’s signature is a sweet German conclusion that translates to Always all the best! But with so many misjudgments in text and delivery (at school?! Calvin, what were you thinking?), Hillesland’s letter looks more like Always all the worst…or dare I say for my QAnon readers, Immer Alles Wurst?

Related religious messaging: The First Congregational United Church of Christ in Watertown offers its own religious message in its place, on the church grounds:

Mike Henriksen, Twitter, 2022.04.26.
Mike Henriksen, Twitter2022.04.26.

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