August Butterworth, a Chaska Middle School East student entering high school this fall, is among the nation’s best for National History Day. Butterworth’s project, “The 1971 FBI Burglary: Taking A Stand Against Illegal Government Surveillance” earned 3rd place last week out of more than 3,000 projects nation-wide. She focused on a Pennsylvania FBI office break-in in 1971 which revealed a 15-year-old FBI program, COINTELPRO, to spy on U.S. citizens. The FBI never identified the burglars, who only came forward in 2014. Butterworth interviewed two of them, Bonnie and John Raines.
More than 1,000 stolen files showed that targets of FBI surveillance were civil rights organizations and anti-Vietnam War activists but also ordinary citizens who merely had similar beliefs. Making this information public led to greater Congressional oversight of the FBI and CIA, and to new laws to protect U.S. citizens from unauthorized surveillance.
The University of Minnesota sponsors Minnesota’s National History Day qualifying event in the spring. Dozens of Eastern Carver County Schools students participate in History Day. By researching, writing and presenting about history, they achieve many of our district’s academic standards and practice skills needed in high school, college and their future careers. Learn more about National History Day.