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Tensions rise at CMS meeting as opposing groups debate CRT, equity being taught in schools

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 11:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - More than 80 speakers lined up to speak at the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board meeting.

The hot button topic was Critical Race Theory and how race, diversity, equity, and inclusion should be taught in public schools.

Two groups of up to 50 people total held rallies outside of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center prior to the Board of Education meeting.

One group held signs supporting diverse, culturally responsive education. Another group held up signs saying CRT was racist.

CRT is the framework that examines how race and racism influence American politics, culture, and law.

The NC House of Representatives passed House Bill 324 in May which prohibits the teaching of topics related to CRT.

84 people signed up to speak during the meeting. A majority of the speakers addressed CRT, equity, and school curriculum.

“We need culturally responsive teaching, not critical race theory. It’s a research-based approach to teaching that connects students to their culture, language, their lifestyle, and experiences of what they learn in schools,” said CMAE President Amanda Thompson Rice.

Others say critical race theory is racist.

“What is happening is an approach to focus on demonizing individuals, drawing lines in the sand for students to take sides on,” said one speaker who was against CRT.

Critical race theory is a hot-button phrase. It elicits deep emotion in people, as was evidenced Tuesday night. One group of parents said CRT pits children against one another.

“No child should be divided by the color of their skin in school or be taught that they are inherently an oppressor or a victim of others because of the way they were born,” said one speaker.

Others say it’s a good thing to support culturally responsive education, focused on race, diversity, and equity.

“When you only teach part of the story you end up with an incomplete picture and limited understanding of our current world,” said one speaker.

Both sides agree American history needs to be taught – it’s how that leads us to jam-packed meetings and passionate words.

“We’re simply here to say we’re all creations of God let us learn to love one another simply,” said one woman who was against CRT.

“Well, history is uncomfortable. How about the Black and Brown children sitting in our classrooms who have felt uncomfortable now or in the future when they realize their very own history is not taught,” said one CMS teacher in favor of culturally responsive teaching.

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