Five Families’ Fight Against the Teaching of Critical Race Theory

 


Photo by MChe Lee | Unsplash

Photo by MChe Lee | Unsplash

Loudoun County Public Schools’ first strategic goal under its mission statement is to “[d]evelop knowledgeable critical thinkers, communicators, collaborators, creators, and contributors.” Unfortunately, the district is taking a huge step backward by adopting an “action plan to combat systemic racism” that includes a bevy of new programs and protocols. This new speech code promises to silence students through an anonymous reporting system designed to discourage critical thinking and open, honest communication.

 

LCPS is the third-largest school district in Virginia, home to a diverse population of over 85,000 students living in the tony suburbs of Washington, D.C. It’s also become ground zero in a fight over education philosophy that is spreading across the country. On June 2nd of this year, on behalf of five families of LCPS students, Liberty Justice Center has brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school district for violating two fundamental promises of the Constitution: free speech and fair treatment. 

 

One pillar of this new system is a new student “Equity Ambassador Program.” The principal of each high school and middle school is responsible for selecting two to three student ambassadors with a pronounced “passion for social justice” and who promise to “amplify the voices of students of color.” The original version of the criteria was more direct: students had to check one of the “right” racial boxes to even be considered.

 

These ambassadors, then, are empaneled regularly for “Share, Speak-up, Speak-out” sessions to name-and-shame their classmates who engage in so-called acts of microaggression. 

 

What counts as a micro-aggression? The term refers to any action that could be regarded as indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against a marginalized group. By its very nature, what could be considered a microaggression is subjective – at the whim of the eye of the beholder. Martin Luther King Jr. could have been guilty of one for calling on people to judge not based on the color of someone’s skin but the content of their character. So too is a student who wears a political t-shirt to school or shares with a classmate about their faith.

 

A comment like that in today’s Loudoun would be the basis for an anonymous complaint from another student, an investigation by the school district’s “supervisor of equity,” and a kangaroo court review before the “equity ambassadors.”

 

This ratting out of classmates for so-called microaggressions is part of a new “Bias Reporting System” modeled on a concept popular in higher education. At colleges and universities nationwide, these reporting systems have been used to shut down free speech and stop civil conversations by handing a heckler’s veto to anyone who finds a classmate’s ideas offensive. 

 

Ironically, in the name of diversity, schools like Loudoun are imposing a single ideology that tolerates no dissent. In the name of inclusion, they are excluding students who won’t get on board with this controversial, divisive doctrine. 

 

Parents aren’t standing idly by as their schools cram this ideology down their throats. They are pushing back – in courtrooms and classrooms – to ensure students are still taught skills like critical thinking and civil discourse. They won’t accept living in fear that any day their child’s prospects for college admission will be destroyed by an anonymous “bias report.”

 

This new policy punishes free speech and discriminates against students – limiting their opportunities based on their views and their family background.

 

That’s not just illegal; it’s un-American. And it’s not education; it’s indoctrination. Our schools can and should do better.


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