Former Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sending Violent Threats Over Anti-CRT Law

By Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano
Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and New England bureau of The New York Times.
December 22, 2021 Updated: December 26, 2021

A former New Hampshire middle school teacher has pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from violent, sexual threats that he sent to a state lawmaker who sponsored legislation calling for a ban on the teaching of critical race theory in New Hampshire public schools.

“I truly hope you get skull [expletive] to death you pathetic privileged white [expletive] boi,” Daniel Rattigan, who taught for the Allenstown School District, wrote in one of his messages to New Hampshire state Rep. Keith Ammon, a Republican.

Some of Rattigan’s other threats, which also were directed at some of Ammon’s family members, are several pages long and were spread over a two-day period. Some of the threats are so sexually graphic and violent in nature that the lawmaker asked The Epoch Times to not print them.

“There are definitely some psychopathic tendencies there,” Ammon told The Epoch Times. “I don’t want to give another crazy person ideas.”

Rattigan couldn’t be reached by The Epoch Times for comment. His Linkedin and Facebook pages were offline and his landline was disconnected.

On Dec. 17, as part of an agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to one count of harassment and one count of obstructing government administration. He received a suspended fine of $1,240 and was ordered to write Ammon a letter of apology.

Ammon was a keynote speaker at a “Stop Critical Race Theory Indoctrination” rally held at the New Hampshire State House at about the time that Rattigan sent the threatening messages.

It was a measure that Ammon sponsored that set off Rattigan. It called for the prohibition of “the dissemination of certain divisive concepts related to sex and race in state contracts, grants, and training programs.”

While HB544 was tabled by the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee, state lawmakers later approved a similar measure that bans public schools from teaching that people are inherently racist because of their race.

It’s one of the latest controversies following New Hampshire’s new ban on teaching that U.S. history and current times are exclusively predicated on white supremacy, a belief commonly associated with critical race theory (CRT).

Recently, the New Hampshire chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) filed a federal lawsuit against state officials, arguing that the new law is unconstitutional and infringes upon teachers’ rights to free speech.

Among those officials named in the suit is New Hampshire Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelbut who, along with his wife, homeschools all seven of their children.

After the law was approved, Moms of Liberty, which describes itself as a fierce defender of parental rights and of future generations of the United States, offered a $500 reward to anyone who outed a teacher for violating the new law, which includes a disciplinary provision for those caught breaking it.

The National Education Association called the new law “repugnant,” and Deb Howes, president of the state AFT chapter, said in a statement that teachers were worried that the law made them easy targets for being fired.

“Educators are terrified of losing their teaching license over simply trying to teach,” Howes said.

Several educators around the United States have been fired over teaching CRT. Earlier this year in Tennessee, Kingsport high school teacher Matthew Hawn was fired for teaching race supremacy theory. In Connecticut, a black superintendent resigned after receiving complaints that he was promoting white supremacy theories in schools. In Texas, a black principal agreed to resign after parents complained that he was indoctrinating students with CRT.

Many teachers have also been fired or have resigned in opposition to teaching CRT.

Jennifer Tafuto, an elementary school teacher in Manchester, Connecticut, resigned in September over the district’s CRT curriculum.

In an online video explaining her resignation, Tafuto said she felt like she had been turned into a political activist by her school and that CRT seemed mostly designed to pit students against one another.

“Teachers are given scripted questions … such as ‘I wonder why white people don’t want black people to have an education?'” Tafuto said.

In neighboring Massachusetts, Hanover school teacher Kari MacRae was fired over social media posts in which she expressed opposition to CRT and other issues, including gender identity and gender equality, which allow men to compete as women, provided they identify as a female.

MacRae, who filed a lawsuit against the school district for firing her, is now the subject of a recall petition to oust her from her seat on the school board in Bourne, Massachusetts, for her views. She’s running for state Senate, and social media posts show that she has garnered a groundswell of support from her local community.

Ammon told The Epoch Times that he’s concerned that public schools are being used as outlets to carry out radical agendas, and he blamed Democrats for not just condoning it, but encouraging it.

“They [Democrats] kind of jacked up the rhetoric around this bill and completely distorted and mischaracterized it,” Ammon said. “They contribute to whackos like Rattigan getting it into his head that this is a Nazi bill.”

Rattigan had called Ammon a Nazi in one of his threats.

Ammon said he’s disturbed that not a single Democratic lawmaker in New Hampshire has made a statement about the threats or even contacted him privately about them.

The divisive issue has also proven factional at the executive level.

The majority of New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion resigned in protest at his signing of the law, citing concerns that it limits certain kinds of teaching on race and sex.

Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and New England bureau of The New York Times.