Dozens of Union County parents discuss future of schools, masks and diversity education

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 10:52 PM EDT
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Union County, N.C. (WBTV) - Heated discussions took place outside the Union County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

Although school is ending for the summer, many parents chose to speak today to talk about next school year when it comes to masks, vaccines and curriculum surrounding diversity and inclusion.

One of the topics of public comments was education focuses for the next school year. Many parents say they don’t want Critical Race Theory included in the school curriculum.

“I cried because I couldn’t believe his teacher was pushing these things in school,” said one parent who spoke tonight.

Critical Race Theory, often used in college courses, is a way of understanding how American racism has shaped public policy and situations in the present.

But some believe it’s pitting white and black people against each other and causing more tension.

“Why does it feel like we’re going backward in race relations? Critical Race Theory is the tool of present-day Marxists that is used to cause suspicion, division and victimhood in order to achieve their end goal of completely decimating our country,” said a speaker who represents the political group Moms for Liberty in Union County.

A member of the Union County Association of Educators spoke on Tuesday and said they are not teaching CRT in Union County Public Schools.

The other side of this conversation thought says diversity, equality and inclusions are needed in schools. They’re asking UCPS to follow the recommendations of the UCPS Citizens Advisory Committee on Diversity to hire a diversity officer for schools.

“Culturally relevant teaching connects students’ cultures, languages and life experiences with what they learn at school. It enables students of color to see themselves, their cultures, their contribution, and their histories as part of our nation’s past, present and future. What is so wrong with that,” one speaker said.

“Hiding the truth from children, opens the doors for future repeat transgressions,” another speaker said about why history should be taught accurately.

The future of masks in schools was also a hot topic on Tuesday night. Speakers said they want the board to change the mask requirements by August.

“We need you guys to defend us against this garbage science they’re handing down,” said a speaker.

There was a motion by board member Gary Sides to make masks be optional for the upcoming school year but it failed. Other board members said they’d rather wait to see what session law says before they make a decision.

No other decisions were made.

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