Parents in Loudoun County, Virginia, are outraged over the public school district’s decision to start using an anonymous “Bias Reporting” form.
The parents, who are part of a recently formed political action committee called “Fight for Schools,” say the form “asks students to anonymously cancel each other” in an effort to root out racism.
“Another day in Loudoun County, another Orwellian move from Loudoun County Public Schools,” the group said in an email last week. “This time [the district] has created a system where students and parents can anonymously report other students for ‘bias.’ … What could possibly go wrong?!”
The message also includes a screenshot of an email reportedly sent by the school stating that students can “denote if they wish to have the incident followed up at their respective school.”
A spokesperson for Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) told The Washington Times that the form is part of the district’s “Detailed Action Plan to Combat Systemic Racism.”
“The specific reason behind this action step is to utilize it as a means to amplify and elevate student voice,” the spokesperson said in an email last week.
The decision to create the form stems from a 2019 “Systemic Equity Assessment” that “revealed some students who felt marginalized or had experienced bias,” the spokesperson said.
The results reportedly will be used to identify “staff professional learning opportunities” and to generate ideas for discussion at meetings hosted by school Student Equity Ambassadors.
The Fight for Schools PAC was created by a local parent in April, and its advocates have been at odds with school officials for months.
The group started a petition campaign this month to oust six of the nine county school board members who they say are “infecting our schools with critical race theory.”
Interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler, however, posted on the school’s website in March that “LCPS has not adopted Critical Race Theory as a framework for staff to adhere to.”
Supporters of critical race theory (CRT) contend that the revisionist approach to teaching history, literature and other subjects offers a more accurate and honest accounting of the role of race in America.
The scholarship “attempts to demonstrate not only how racism continues to be a pervasive component throughout dominant society, but also why this persistent racism problematically denies individuals many of the constitutional freedoms they are otherwise promised in the United States’ governing documents,” according to Purdue University.
Critics, especially on the right, argue that viewing America and Americans solely through the prism of race is itself racist and that much of the curriculum derived from CRT scholarship amounts to thinly repackaged Marxism.
CRT has spurred debate nationwide amid calls for racial and social justice, with conservatives generally rejecting its claims of systemic racism in government, society and culture.
Nearby in Fairfax County, the “Parents Against Critical Theory” group held a “Save Our Schools” rally last week at a local middle school.
A flier for the event said “parents are ticked off about CRT” and invited anyone who is “unhappy” about CRT at Fairfax County Public Schools.
Meanwhile, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) — the largest school system in Maryland — is in the process of a more than $454,000 “Anti-Racist System Audit.”
MCPS, which has more than 160,000 students, hired Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium in November to conduct the audit. The organization describes itself as a “nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to a high quality education for culturally, linguistically and economically diverse learners.”
A spokesperson for MCPS told The Times last week that the district “is engaging in a systemwide audit to examine systems, practices, and policies in school culture that create barriers to equitable outcomes for students, staff, and families.”
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, said it obtained documents last week from the audit that shows an MCPS middle school curriculum presented former President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan as an example of “covert White supremacy.”
A slideshow presentation for a social justice class offered last summer at Thomas Pyle Middle School includes the information in a pyramid diagram, titled “Difference between overt and covert hateful white supremacy.”
“The phrase is ranked on a pyramid just below ‘lynching,’ ‘hate crimes,’ ‘the N-word’ and ‘racial slurs,’” according to a Judicial Watch press release last week.
The curriculum reportedly “taught that ‘White privilege’ means being favored by school authorities and having a positive relationship with the police.”
Judicial Watch says it discovered the information by reviewing hundreds of “heavily redacted records” through a public information request.
When asked about the watchdog’s assertions, the MCPS spokesperson said, “I do not have details on the course at Pyle Middle School and would not be able to provide comment.”
• Emily Zantow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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