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The ongoing “to be or not to be” debate involving critical race theory is one that you have seen us cover many times in the past. Unfortunately, no common ground has yet been reached regarding how America’s past and current struggles against racism are taught in schools.
An English teacher at Greenfield High School in Missouri found this out the hard way after she was fired when a parent reported her for teaching CRT through a worksheet titled “How Good Are You you racially privileged?”
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A southwestern Missouri school board voted not to renew Kim Morrison’s contract because of the accusation, which stems from a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.-themed book, according to Springfield News-Leader. Morrison says she used the 2017 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin by Nic Stone in his program for two years now, but this was the first year that the 15-question worksheet was implemented.
The complaints began in late February, resulting in Morrison being called into the office of high school principal Jennifer Roberts for a conversation that once again proved that many were unsure of what is and is not considered CRT. “I said discussing racism is not CRT and [Roberts] said she got it but that’s what she hears,” Morrrison told News-Leader, later adding, “[the worksheet] was to prepare the students for the conversation that was going to take place between two characters that we were going to read.
More on what led to Morrison’s firing below, via Springfield News Manager:
“Morrison, in her fourth year at Greenfield, was called into the office again in mid-March, days before a school board meeting.
“(The Principal) was always getting complaints,” Morrison said. “That’s when I was afraid that my conversation with her two weeks before hadn’t solved anything.”
She asked to meet Superintendent Chris Kell after school on March 16, the day of the board meeting.
“I asked for a date and he didn’t ask me why. When I walked in there he struck up a conversation and said we weren’t sure if I would be rehired or not,” she said. “He couldn’t foresee.”
Behind closed doors, the board voted not to renew Morrison’s contract. She followed up by asking for the reason, in writing.
In Superintendent Chris Kell’s response letter on behalf of the board, the reason was clearly stated: “Your decision to incorporate the worksheet associated with the novel Dear Martinbecause of the content and the subject.
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Dear Martin is a young adult novel Stone wrote in response to the 2012 murder of Jordan Davis, centering on an Atlanta teenager at a predominantly white high school who one night got into a bad run-in with a white cop. The incident inspires him to write letters to the spirit of MLK Jr. in hopes of giving meaning to life as a black man.
It seems the school’s problem is more with the worksheet than the book itself, but it’s also unfortunate to see educators being censored and being told pretty much how to do their job. Let us know what you think and if the school board made a valid decision here.
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