Two parent groups wrote a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos requesting that she launch a civil rights investigation into the critical race theory training at some public schools in Virginia, The Daily Caller reports.
The letter was authored by Parents Against Critical Theory (PACT) and No Left Turn (NLTE), and calls on DeVos to investigate the “discriminatory and racist practices” at Loudon County Public Schools.
Since 2018 Loudoun County Public Schools spent $422,500 in taxpayer funds “training” staff on critical race theory. In 2019 they spent $314,000 in “coaching” and meetings hosted by The Equity Collaborative, an Oakland, California-based consulting firm that specializes in helping school districts “create… social justice by addressing bias and oppression,” West Nova News reported in September.
“It is imperative that the Department of Education investigate LCPS’s misguided and illegal use of critical race theory as a remedy,” the letter said.
The letter refers to a March 2019 meeting where the school board created an “ad hoc equity committee” that was “tasked with reviewing LCPS policies and practices to enhance equity.”
“It should be noted that the committee was not tasked to ensure equality or equal opportunity, but rather ‘equity,’” the letter claimed.
That same month, the district’s superintendent, Eric Williams, announced that optional “implicit bias” training for teachers and staff would be mandatory, and that a consultant would be hired to perform an “equity audit,” according to the letter.
The decision to include implicit bias training reportedly came after a Feb. 2019 Black History Month exercise involving an obstacle course meant to portray the Underground Railroad, according to WTOP. Many parents were upset after the incident saying it was “culturally insensitive” and trivialized slavery.
The district reportedly budgeted more than $1 million for its “Equity Office” as part of a “Comprehensive Equity Plan.” The plan highlights the school’s need to “right-size” disciplinary policies that have disparate impact on black students. Teachers are recommended to read books like “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and “How To Be An Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi, according to the letter.
The district also launched an “Equity Ambassador Program,” which would involve discussion about racism, injustice and inequity, but the “opportunity is specifically for students of color,” the letter said, citing West Nova News.
“Thank you for your interest but this opportunity is specifically for students of Color,” a suggested response for the plan states, according to West Nova News. “However, students at each school have an option of creating an affinity group for students of Color who all share a similar racial identity and they may also include allies.”
PACT and NLTE call the program a “blatant violation of the United States Constitution.”
The program is intended to handle issues like racism and bias, which people in the school district don’t fully understand, according to the plan.
“Our systemic equity assessment indicated that there is a low level of racial consciousness and racial literacy in our division; discipline policies and practices disproportionately negatively impact students of color, particularly Black/African American students; many English Learners, Black/African American, Latin and Muslim students have experienced the sting of racial insults/slurs or racially motivated violent actions,” the plan said, according to West Nova News.
“If LCPS is admitting that it is systemically racist, the Department of Education should proceed with an investigation just as it did with Princeton University,” the letter concluded.