June 20, 2024

Education For Live

Masters Of Education

Inside The Online Community Where Home-Schoolers Learn How To Turn Their Kids Into ‘Wonderful Nazis’

12 min read
Inside The Online Community Where Home-Schoolers Learn How To Turn Their Kids Into ‘Wonderful Nazis’

On Nov. 5, 2021, a married couple calling themselves “Mr. and Mrs. Saxon” appeared on the neo-Nazi podcast “Achtung Amerikaner” to plug a new project: a social media channel dedicated to helping American parents home-school their children.

“We are so deeply invested into making sure that that child becomes a wonderful Nazi,” Mrs. Saxon told the podcast’s host. “And by home-schooling, we’re going to get that done.”

The Saxons said they launched the “Dissident Homeschool” channel on Telegram after years of searching for and developing “Nazi-approved material” for their own home-schooled children — material they were eager to share.

The Dissident Homeschool channel — which now has nearly 2,500 subscribers — is replete with this material, including ready-made lesson plans authored by the Saxons on various subjects, like Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (a “grand role model for young, white men”) and Martin Luther King Jr. (“the antithesis of our civilization and our people”).

There are copywork assignments available for parents to print out, so that their children can learn cursive by writing out quotes from Adolf Hitler. There are recommended reading lists with bits of advice like “do not give them Jewish media content,” and there are tips for ensuring that home-schooling parents are in “full compliance with the law” so that “the state” doesn’t interfere.

The Saxons also frequently update their followers on their progress home-schooling their own children. In one since-deleted post to Telegram, they posted an audio message of their kids shouting “Sieg Heil” — the German phrase for “hail victory” that was used by the Nazis.

Over the past year, the Dissident Homeschool channel has become a community for like-minded fascists who see home schooling as integral to whites wresting control of America. The Saxons created this community while hiding behind a fake last name, but HuffPost has reviewed evidence indicating they are Logan and Katja Lawrence of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Logan, until earlier this week, worked for his family’s insurance company while Katja taught the kids at home.

The Anonymous Comrades Collective, a group of anti-fascist researchers, first uncovered evidence suggesting the Lawrences are behind Dissident Homeschool. HuffPost has verified the collective’s research.

The Lawrences did not respond to repeated requests for comment made via phone calls, text messages and emails. A HuffPost reporter also left a message in the Dissident Homeschool channel asking Mr. and Mrs. Saxon for comment about the Anonymous Comrades Collective’s research. That message was immediately deleted by the channel’s administrators, who then disabled the channel’s comment and chat functions.

A short time later, Katja Lawrence deleted her Facebook page.

Although the Lawrences will now surely face some public scorn and accountability, it’s likely their neo-Nazi curriculum is legal. A concerted, decades-long campaign by right-wing Christian groups to deregulate home schooling has afforded parents wide latitude in how they teach their kids — even if that means indoctrinating them with explicit fascism.

Meanwhile major right-wing figures are increasingly promoting home schooling as a way to save children from alleged “wokeness” — or liberal ideas about race and gender — in public and private schools. As extreme as the Dissident Homeschool channel is, the propaganda it shares targeting the American education system is just a more explicit and crass articulation of talking points made by Fox News hosts or by major figures in the Republican Party.

“Without homeschooling our children,” Mrs. Saxon once wrote, “our children are left defenseless to the schools and the Gay Afro Zionist scum that run them.”

Unmasking The Saxons

A photo Mrs. Saxon posted to the Dissident Homeschool channel of a completed home-school assignment in which her children wrote a quote by Adolf Hitler.
A photo Mrs. Saxon posted to the Dissident Homeschool channel of a completed home-school assignment in which her children wrote a quote by Adolf Hitler.

After Anonymous Comrades Collective published its research suggesting Mr. and Mrs. Saxon are actually Logan and Katja Lawrence, two of the couple’s relatives talked to HuffPost. Both asked not to be identified.

Both of these relatives confirmed to HuffPost that the voices of Mr. and Mrs. Saxon on the neo-Nazi podcast “Amerikaner” belonged to Logan and Katja. “They have very distinct voices to me,” one of the relatives said. “It was absolutely Logan … no doubt in my mind that it wasn’t them.”

The relatives confirmed that Logan and Katja home-school their children and that they have a German shepherd named Blondi, which is the same name as Hitler’s dog — something “Mrs. Saxon” had mentioned once on Telegram. According to a search of dog licenses in Wyandot County, Ohio, a woman named Katja Lawrence is the owner of a “black/tan” German shepherd.

Despite their best efforts to keep their real, offline identities hidden, over the past year, Mr. and Mrs. Saxon had revealed similar pieces of biographical information in Telegram posts, blogs and podcast appearances — information the Anonymous Comrades Collective filed away.

Like when Mr. Saxon revealed that he and his wife live in a small farming community in the Great Lakes area. “A town of 6,000 people, in the middle of a cornfield that, up until about five years ago, was essentially 100{e4f787673fbda589a16c4acddca5ba6fa1cbf0bc0eb53f36e5f8309f6ee846cf} white,” he said on a podcast, lamenting that the area was growing more diverse. “Until 1945, there was a sign on the city limits that said ‘no negroes allowed within the city limits,’” he added.

The Anonymous Comrades Collective, already suspecting the Saxons might live in Ohio, found that census records indicated the town of Upper Sandusky had about 6,000 people. And according to a Tougaloo College database of former Sundown Towns — all-white communities that warned Black people not to be seen there after sunset, lest they be murdered — Upper Sandusky was once home to a racist sign with a message similar to the one Mr. Saxon described. (According to the database, the sign actually said: “N****r don’t let the sun set on you.”)

In that same podcast episode, Mr. Saxon grew angry while discussing how a company near his home had offered employment to refugees from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The company, he said, was “bringing third world, tropical people into our little white ethnostate of a town.” A search of news reports after Hurricane Maria shows that in 2018, Kasai North America, an automotive supplier in Upper Sandusky, had recruited workers displaced by the storm.

Mrs. Saxon also revealed that she was a naturalized immigrant from Europe, and her posts suggested that she might be from the Netherlands, as she frequently discussed Dutch politics and food. A 2017 article in The Toledo Blade states that Katja Lawrence was among 51 people sworn in as U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony at a local high school. Her country of origin: the Netherlands.

After Anonymous Comrades Collective published its research earlier this week, neo-Nazis on Telegram mourned that the Saxons had been doxxed. A man going by the name “Gordon Kahl,” who hosts the “Amerikaner” podcast, wrote that “nothing bad happens to anyone who deserves it, just people like the Saxons who have never wronged anyone. What’s the fucking point.”

This was a seeming admission by Gordon Kahl that the Anonymous Comrades Collective research was correct. Kahl and Mr. Saxon, after all, knew each other offline, according to an episode of the “Amerikaner” in which they discussed going to a neo-Nazi party together.

When HuffPost talked to the Lawrences’ two relatives, they were also in a type of mourning — shocked and saddened that two of their family members seemed to be secret neo-Nazis.

The relatives were mostly worried, though, about the Lawrences’ children being home-schooled this way. “That these kids don’t know anything different and probably won’t get to know anything different is just heartbreaking,” one of the relatives said.

Plus, the relative said, it’s not just the Lawrences’ children they’re worried about: It’s all the home-schooled children who have parents sourcing lesson plans from the Dissident Homeschool channel.

“It’s just horrifying,” the relative said. “It’s disgusting. It’s heartbreaking for their children and who knows how many other children that are affected by these actions.”

Nazi Groomers

A post from Dissident Homeschool, a channel on Telegram where neo-Nazis learn to indoctrinate their children.
A post from Dissident Homeschool, a channel on Telegram where neo-Nazis learn to indoctrinate their children.

Mr. and Mrs. Saxon appeared to be thrilled to see their Dissident Homeschool channel gain a larger following. When the channel reached 1,000 subscribers, Mrs. Saxon posted a Nazi-era photo from Germany of uniformed schoolchildren throwing up fascist salutes. “It fills my heart with joy to know there is such a strong base of homeschoolers and homeschool-interested national socialists,” she wrote to mark the occasion. “Hail victory.”

Mrs. Saxon does the bulk of the posting in Dissident Homeschool, and developed extensive lesson plans that other neo-Nazi parents could use for their children. These lesson plans — about Christopher Columbus, the history of Thanksgiving and German Appreciation Day, as well as a “math assignment” about “crime statistics” that is meant to teach kids which “demographics to be cautious around” — are deeply racist.

One lesson plan about Martin Luther King Jr. tells parents to teach their kids that the revered civil rights leader was “a degenerate anti-white criminal whose life’s work was to make it impossible for white communities to protect their own way of life and keep their people safe from black crime.”

“Typically speaking,” Mrs. Saxon wrote in a post, “whites build societies whereas blacks destroy them.”

Included in the lesson plan is a copywork assignment for parents to print out, so that their kids can practice cursive while writing out a racist quote by George Lincoln Rockwell, the infamous American neo-Nazi.

“A leopard doesn’t change his spots just because you bring him in from the jungle and try to housebreak him and turn him into a pet,” reads the Rockwell quote. “He may learn to sheathe his claws in order to beg a few scraps off the dinner table, and you may teach him to be a beast of burden, but it doesn’t pay to forget that he’ll always be what he was born: a wild animal.”

A copywork assignment posted to the Dissident Homeschool channel by Mrs. Saxon. It's designed for kids to write out a quote by infamous neo-Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell.
A copywork assignment posted to the Dissident Homeschool channel by Mrs. Saxon. It’s designed for kids to write out a quote by infamous neo-Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell.

Dissident Homeschool subscribers often thanked Mrs. Saxon for her lesson plans. “This is perfect,” one subscriber wrote. “My wife and I are always looking for good pro-white lesson plans for our kiddos.”

“I love the work you are doing on this channel,” wrote another subscriber. “You are doing great work for our race.”

Mr. and Mrs. Saxon often discussed indoctrinating their own children with Nazism. On April 20, 2022, Mrs. Saxon wrote that “Our children celebrated Adolf’s birthday today by learning about Germany and eating our favorite German foods. Recipe included.”

“We are living life and enjoying the beauty left behind by our ancestors,” she continued. “Heil Hitler to you all. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag unserer Führer!”

Another time Mrs. Saxon posted a photo of a copywork assignment her children had just completed. It showed her kids’ cursive spelling out a quote from a man who, as Mrs. Saxon noted, “fought a great struggle for our people and dedicated his life to securing the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

The quote read, in part: “I fell down on my knees and thanked heaven … for granting me the good fortune of being permitted to live at this time.”

It was from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”

A Seething Hatred For American Public Education

Mr. and Mrs. Saxon are clear that they don’t have a problem, per se, with public schools — just with public schools in their current incarnation. “I have said this before: if we lived in Nazi Germany my children would attend school and after school extra curricular activities,” Mrs. Saxon wrote once.

But Mr. and Mrs. Saxon don’t live in Nazi Germany — they live in America in 2023, where they see schools as hellbent on turning children into everything they despise.

The Dissident Homeschool channel, beyond being a repository for neo-Nazi lesson plans, is also a clearinghouse for anti-education propaganda — namely memes and videos that paint public schools as havens for liberalism and “degeneracy,” as the Saxons often put it.

They frequently post videos and memes in the channel from far-right influencers like LibsOfTikTok, the popular hate account run by Chaya Raichik. LibsOfTikTok has been at the center of a conservative uproar over how schools talk about the existence of queer people, with Raichik’s memes and videos falsely depicting the LGBTQ community as using the classroom to “groom” children. Raichik is now famous on the right, appearing on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox Nation, and getting a shoutout on Joe Rogan’s podcast, which is the most-listened-to in America.

This week on Twitter, Raichik reposted a video of a teacher talking to kids about gender identity. “Homeschool your kids,” she wrote.

A growing chorus of right-wing figures have latched onto this anti-LGBTQ moral panic — along with a corresponding panic over “critical race theory” being taught in schools — to encourage their followers to home-school their children.

“There’s a lot of interconnectedness between the home-schooling movement and the current attacks you’re seeing on public schools,” Carmen Longoria-Green, a lawyer who serves as the board president of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, told HuffPost. “The calls for books bans, the attacks on libraries, the attacks on public school teachers and limiting their ability to provide instruction about American history and so forth. It’s all quite interconnected.”

Longoria-Green, who was home-schooled herself, said the right-wing push to home-school kids started over half a century ago in response to Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruling that desegregated America’s schools. White fundamentalist Christian parents were upset over their kids having to attend school with Black kids. Moreover, Longoria-Green said, these parents saw home schooling as a way to make sure their children’s education aligned with their religious ideology.

“They realized that it was a way to restrict access to information about science they disagreed with, so it was a response to their concerns about the teaching of evolution in public schools, and it also had to with desires to restrict children’s access to information about sexual orientation and sexuality,” Longoria-Green said. “And it answered their desire to restrict info about American history, specifically America’s colonialist, racist, genocidal past.”

The 1980s and 1990s saw right-wing organizations like the Home School Legal Defense Association effectively lobby legislators to deregulate home schooling across the country.

“They activated home-schooling parents and basically bullied the legislators into removing all types of restrictions or protections that would have ensured that home-schooled children were receiving a good education and were safe,” Longoria-Green said. “So it is very, very easy in this country now to claim to be home schooling but to not actually be providing your children with an adequate education. And I’m not even saying a non-racist education. I’m saying it is quite possible in this country to claim that you’re home-schooling and then never teach your child how to read.”

Longoria-Green wasn’t optimistic when asked about whether there might be a way for the government to intervene to stop Mr. and Mrs. Saxon, or other parents in the Dissident Homeschool channel, from indoctrinating their kids to Nazism.

“I think what they’re doing is perfectly legal,” she said.

A meme posted to the Dissident Homeschool channel.
A meme posted to the Dissident Homeschool channel.

In Ohio, parents who want to home-school are required to submit “a brief outline of the intended curriculum” and a “list of teaching materials” to the local public school superintendent, according to the state Department of Education.

Then, if the “home education plan” meets the basic requirements of state law, the superintendent must excuse the child from public school attendance.

But even in states with these types of requirements, there’s little to no enforcement mechanism to ensure that parents are actually teaching the curriculum they submitted to the superintendent.

It’s unlikely, after all, that Mr. and Mrs. Saxon would send their local superintendent the lesson plans they created praising Hitler.

Eric Landversicht, the superintendent in Wyandot County, where the Lawrences live, told HuffPost in a statement that he “cannot discuss the personally identifiable information of specific students due to state and federal privacy laws.”

He pointed HuffPost to Ohio’s home-schooling statute and noted that “parents who decide to home educate their child are responsible for choosing the curriculum and course of study.”

The Saxons frequently post material in the Dissident Homeschool channel instructing parents how to interact with superintendents or other officials who might assess their curricula.

“For many states in America, it is so very easy to be in compliance,” Mrs. Saxon wrote once. “You send a letter … Just find out what you have to do, and quickly do it. After that, you can sit down and relax, and figure out how you will homeschool the children.”

Another time, Mrs. Saxon grew reflective about Dissident Homeschool and its goals.

“I just work hard to homeschool the children, live life, enjoy the children, do the whole homestead bit AND secretly anonymously share homeschool information with a group of fellow nazis on a private little corner of the internet so that our children can all become super race aware and fight for their race,” she wrote.

She seemed excited for the future, and eager to create new lesson plans for her kids and for her subscribers.

“We have given the oldest kids tidbits on WWI and WWII,” Mrs. Saxon wrote during a chat in the Dissident Homeschool channel. “And hopefully in a year or so we will have a grand unit study to offer all the dissident-right children about Hitler.”

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