[PEOPLE AT MEETING, SHOUTING]: “Who pays your salary?” “Shame on you!”
What had been planned as a typical school board meeting in Virginia’s wealthy Loudoun County this week devolved into pandemonium…
with hundreds of parents flooding an auditorium to accuse the school system of teaching their kids that racism in America is structural and systemic – something the school board denies is part of the curriculum.
Things got so heated that the board members eventually walked out – leaving the police to deal with the unruly crowd. Two people left in handcuffs.
[ARRESTED MAN]: “This is an unlawful arrest! I have a First Amendment right!”
Loudoun County’s School Board has been roiled for months by accusations that it has embraced critical race theory, a school of thought that maintains that racism is ingrained in U.S. law and institutions and that legacies of slavery and segregation have created an uneven playing field for Black Americans.
The Loudoun school system says it is simply training teachers, the majority of whom are white, to be “culturally responsive" to serve the county's increasingly diverse student population.
The tensions in Loudoun echo a larger battle playing out across the country as Americans tackle racial and social injustice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd last year.
The idea that CRT- as it’s known - is infiltrating public schools has become a rallying cry for conservatives, who, like many in Loudoun, say it is being used to indoctrinate children that America is a racist country.
[WALLY, ATTENDEE AGAINST THE TEACHING OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY]:
"Critical race theory is anti-white, and it's not American."
Others, however, see it simply as fact.
[DEBORAH MORBETO, ATTENDEE IN FAVOR OF THE TEACHING OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY]:
“Would you not teach what happened during World War I, or World War II, or the American Revolution? No, you wouldn’t. We need critical race theory, because we need real history.”
Proponents of CRT argue there’s no evidence it’s being taught in most – if any – of America’s public schools. Instead, they say, it is being used by conservatives as a catch-all term and a way to push back against schools’ efforts to support racial equity, diversity and inclusion.
Several Republican-led states including Florida, Texas and Georgia have enacted new rules to limit teaching about the role of racism in the U.S.
But several teachers and education experts worry that rules banning CRT or limiting discussions on racism could have a chilling effect on efforts to teach Black history, including the legacy of slavery and race relations in the U.S.