The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning the inclusion of so-called “critical race theory” in classroom instruction and discouraging teachers from requiring students to choose their pronouns favorite.
The board, with one member absent, voted unanimously to pass the resolution, which allows supervisors to withhold any county funding from schools found in violation of the county resolution. For example, the board might choose to withhold money in cases where a teacher proactively asks students about their gender pronouns, even if that teacher’s intention was to make students transgender or not. binaries at ease.
Likewise, the council could withhold funding in cases where teachers seek to incorporate critical race theory or ideas inspired by Project 1619, a long-running journalism project that seeks to “reframe the country’s history by” placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of America’s national narrative, âin the program.
Supervisor Gary Snellings (R-Hartwood District), the sponsor of the resolution, says that does not mean that all funding will be taken from schools, but rather that the supervisory board could step in and override the school board by denying the financing for specific projects in schools found to be in violation, according to Fox 5.
âIf the school board wants to do what Fairfax County did and bring in a guy who quotes a CRT expertâ¦ and pay him $ 20,000, if our school board decides to do itâ¦ this resolution will give us the power to deduct that $ 20,000 in the next budget, âSnellings said. âIt doesn’t give us the power to cut funding to schools. “
According to Fox 5, Snellings said he introduced the resolution based on a call from a voter who was upset that his son, who had just entered high school, was asked by a teacher about his preferred pronouns.
âHe didn’t know what she was talking about,â Snellings told board members. âHe felt harassed.
Some opponents of the resolution have questioned why it brings together two unrelated issues. However, the two issues, and the broader issues of race relations and transgender rights they address, are often opposed by politically conservative people and have become corner issues that Republicans and conservatives have pounced upon in the past. during an election year when the GOP seeks to increase turnout in order to take over the governor’s mansion, attorney general’s office and control of the General Assembly.
“The fact that you included pronouns in the critical review of racial theory is ridiculous to say the least,” said a resident who spoke at the meeting. âAsking for someone’s pronouns isn’t just a courtesy to anyone, it’s also making people feel safe. “
See also: Virginia School District ordered reinstatement of teacher who refuses to use correct pronouns for trans students
When it comes to the use of pronouns, Snellings says his resolution is to ensure that students are not forced to give teachers their pronouns, not to prohibit transgender students from asking teachers to use their pronouns. favorite.
âState law says you can’t ask a student for their pronoun, you can’t ask them to give it,â he said of teachers’ responsibilities. âThat said, if the student or the student’s parent goes to the teacher’s house and requests that a preferred pronoun be applied to him or her child, a teacher must do so. “
When it comes to Critical Race Theory, supervisors sought to address concerns that college-level theory – which examines the intersection of race and various social, legal, and cultural issues – is being forced upon children, some speakers claiming that it stokes racial animosity towards whites. by calling them âoppressorsâ, portrays people of color as victims and will only divide people between racial and ideological lines.
The Superintendent of Stafford County Public Schools has previously testified before the board that critical race theory is not taught in schools, noting that residents can visit the History and Social Sciences page of the school system to find out what is being taught.
“Stafford County Public Schools do not teach or promote the philosophy of Critical Race Theory in any of our schools,” the school system said in a statement. “The K12 Stafford County Public School History and Social Studies curriculum is based on the Virginia Learning Standards and the accompanying history and social studies curriculum framework.”
But some people, including opponents of the resolution and Supervisor Tom Coen (I-George Washington District), who voted for the resolution said that “critical race theory” – at least as the terms are used by political experts and activists – is a catch-all term that does not accurately reflect what the theory implies. He also said he saw no indication that the theory was actually being taught in the classroom.
âYes, CRT is a very complex problem. It is treated at the college, university and law school levels. It’s also very divisive, âsaid Coen, a high school teacher by profession. âThe upper grades haven’t figured out how they want to cover this, so it’s hard to think that a third-grade teacher, school teacher, or high school teacher can do it, if colleges don’t have it. Not understood.”
But Coen also appeared to imply, in an interview with the DC area news radio station, WTOP, that some people may unintentionally confuse – or perhaps even deliberately distort – valid historical topics that to arrive to approach the race with CRT.
âNow let’s be clear,â Coen said. âThere are certain things under the CRT that are taught, as part of the curricula of social studies courses and government courses, and these are legitimate topics to cover: the Jim Crow laws, the voting law. , the Fourth Amendment and the policy created by Mayor Bloomberg on the Stop and Search. These things can be covered, and the teacher is not talking about CRT.
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