During a board meeting July 21, Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Washington Township board members addressed if critical race theory (CRT) should be discussed in their schools and included in the K-12 school curriculum.
Parents, teachers, faculty and community members stood at the front of the room as the board clarified CRT — a concept that emerged from legal analysis which seeks to understand racism as a social construct and how it impacts racial groups, legal systems and policies.
While it is not a part of the curriculum, board members said their schools are a “safe space” for students and faculty to discuss topics related to CRT.
Washington Township school officials wanted to start the conversation of CRT in schools, making them one of the first in Marion County to speak about the concept.
“We wanted to take a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach,” said Dr. Nikki Woodson, superintendent of Washington Township schools.
CRT has become a controversial subject nationwide, especially in schools. Concerned parents have filled school board meetings either demanding the discussion of CRT be banned from schools or advocating the concept become a part of K-12 curriculum.
Lawmakers in Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas have banned teaching CRT in schools. Florida prohibited the teaching of CRT in June, making it the latest state to ban the concept. Other states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania are considering banning CRT in schools.
Recently in Hamilton County, angry parents came to school board meetings for all four districts — Carmel Clay, Hamilton Southeastern, Noblesville and Westfield Washington — to protest CRT.
Dr. Erica Buchanan-Rivera, the director of equity and inclusion at the district believes the community should understand CRT.
“It’s important to clarify,” she said. “There’s a lot of misinformation about CRT.”
Buchanan-Rivera said CRT is taught at the college level and not taught in K-12 classrooms. However, banning the discussion of CRT from the schools would ignore many of their students’ experiences and questions.
“I think equity in education is important,” Dr. Woodson said. “That means all of our students have to thrive, to be equitable.”
Contact staff writer Abriana Herron at 317-924-5243. Follow her on Twitter @Abri_onyai.