On Sunday, the Alamogordo Public School Board voted unanimously to put Superintendent Kenneth Moore on paid administrative leave amid a lawsuit filed by the Flickinger Performing Arts Center’s executive director Lorrie Black and a video released showing Moore demeaning community members. The move came after the board members met for an executive session that day.
Black wrote in a February 9, 2023 press release, “The Flickinger Center for Performing Arts has entered into a lawsuit against Alamogordo Public School Board and Superintendent Kenneth Moore. The Flickinger Center’s mission states ‘…. reaching our local student population with live music, dance and theater.’ For many years, the Flickinger Center has provided free use of the facility to public schools, private schools, and home school students for band, choir, orchestra concerts, theatrical performances, and awards programs. Six to ten times per year, the Flickinger Center pays additional fees to their Premier Series performers to provide free school educational outreach programs for all area public and private schools.”
“The Flickinger Center was extremely disappointed to learn that the Alamogordo Public School Board allowed Superintendent Moore to make the decision that the Flickinger Center was no longer an approved facility for the students and teachers at Alamogordo Public Schools to use. The Flickinger Center looks forward to a quick resolution to this conflict and get the students at Alamogordo Public Schools back into the theater.”
In an undercover video posted via YouTube by Casey and Myke Petersen, Moore was seen at a conference telling attendees he and his administration are stealthily sneaking in Critical Race Theory through the curriculum.
Moore said in the video, “I mentioned guerrilla warfare. We have to do it subtly to work. We can’t even say ‘equity,’ you know?” He also said, “We’re sneaking [Critical Race Theory] in. It’s guerrilla warfare.”
He must “be careful that we don’t let the ‘e’ word slip (equity) out of our mouths, lest we get shot or something like that” he said.
In other comments made by Moore in the video, he demeaned Alamogordo residents, saying, “If you’ve ever heard of Alamogordo — Otero County — and I’m not knocking the place, but been there four years, and if ever there was a time and a place for discussions about race and equity to take place, it’s in this little town called Alamogordo, New Mexico, where many people would rather not have this discussion, would rather bury their heads in the sand when it comes to race…. If you look up ‘Otero County news’ on Google, where you’ll see headlines from a couple [of] days ago here, you’ll see how we’re trying out fascism as a type of government. I am embarrassed by the county government and the things that are going on.”
He later said, “They have also co-opted religion with this. They believe they are doing God’s work by doing this…. Alamogordo has been a place where these people go to.” He said, “This has become a place that’s only attractive to Trumpers.”
When asked how he, a progressive, became superintendent, he answered, “I have four board members that are on the fence, and they support me because I’m a safe white guy, really.”
“We got less triggering CRT training for our teachers. It was more on implicit bias and things like that that they could take a bite out of without — without much of the backlash…. Never talk CRT. They don’t know what it is, but if those three letters are there, it blows back in our face[s]. So, we’ve done a lot of the implicit bias, the microaggression stuff… SEL (social and emotional learning).”
“If I could force ‘em all, one by one, into something like this (CRT), we might get ten percent of them to open their eyes,” Moore said.
Following the release of the video, state Rep. John Block of Alamogordo wrote in a statement, “I am extraordinarily proud to represent my home of Alamogordo in the Roundhouse. I am equally disgusted by comments made in a recent undercover video showing our public school superintendent demeaning the good people who live in our community as racists and fascists. This angers me to see such disrespect for our great community, and I will continue to work with our local officials to continue promoting our Otero County values while ensuring children in the Alamogordo Public Schools are not indoctrinated with racist Critical Race Theory extremism.”
District Three Alamogordo City Commissioner Karl Melton wrote, “Public education is an institution that requires mutual trust to operate. Parents should never be worried what is being taught behind their back.”
The Flickinger Center and Black’s 34-page lawsuit against APS and Moore was filed in the Twelfth Judicial District Court. The full complaint can be found here.
Board Member Angie Cadwallader made the motion for Moore to be put on leave, although it is not immediately clear what the specific reason was for his administrative status change. Deputy Superintendent Pam Renteria has been named acting superintendent while Moore remains on leave. That motion was made unanimously by the Alamogordo Public School Board. The public meeting lasted around only five minutes for the board to conduct its business.