CHEROKEE COUNTY, Georgia (WGCL) — An explosive Cherokee County School Board meeting included parents yelling at each other and at board members, over the chance of Critical Race Theory being introduced into classrooms. Ultimately, the district voted to ban the teaching but not before talking about its ongoing inclusion initiatives.
Critical Race Theory is a lens to examine how slavery and racism perpetuate inequality– specifically how both today create equity gaps in the social and legal system. Whether infrastructure in neighborhoods, access to learning, and even disparities within the judicial process. The thought of the education coming to Cherokee County had many parents like Rick Cox upset.
“To reach that one group is either better or worse or victimized by or is the victimizer, that is the epitome of teaching racism,” he said.
The father of a senior student held signs outside the board meeting that read “CRT=RACISM.”
Inside, there was a packed room. In fact, the meeting was at full capacity, so dozens of parents were told to remain outside to watch from their phones. For roughly an hour of public input, parents lashed out at the board. Saying it’s time for ‘conservative Georgia to stand up.’
Jamie Smith echoed that, telling CBS46, her mixed-race kids shouldn’t be taught they are victims because of “my [brown] skin or that they’re oppressors because of their dad’s white skin.”
Former teacher and current Cherokee County parent against banning Critical Race Theory, Miranda Wicker, believes prohibition seems like censorship.
Wicker added, “We have people in the community and world who don’t want to acknowledge the fact that racism exists.”
The vote to ban combined with Governor Brian Kemp’s letter rejecting CRT, had some like Sandra Williams and Joseph Cousin fearing what it meant for other school systems across the country.
“This is clearly a group of people that don’t understand what’s at risk here,” Williams told CBS46.
Cox countered, all success is based on character, adding “white privilege didn’t do any of that.”
While critics argue highlighting racial differences only further division among kids they claim are too young to even consider skin color, supporters note it’s that very notion which makes CRT severely needed. A means to foster critical thinking and diversity, advocates believe.
“It’s disheartening, it’s embarrassing, and it really just highlights two different Americas,” sighed Cousin.
Despite the vote to ban CRT, the district said it’s still moving forward with its Social and Emotional Learning Initiatives (SEL) which board members explained focus on equity and inclusion. The announcement left the crowd in a frustrated uproar.
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