Virginia parents appeal to remove a so-called anti-racist policy from school district: ‘Racist at its core’
Virginia parents are continuing to fight back after a school board implemented an “anti-racism” policy in their children’s school district that they say treats children unequally and is “racist at its core.”
Five families in Virginia’s Albemarle County are suing the school board after it passed a wide-reaching anti-racism policy in 2019 for all schools in the district from elementary to high school. In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege the curriculum “indoctrinates children” in Critical Race Theory, and violates their civil rights. The parents say the district will not allow students to opt out of the curriculum.
Alliance Defending Freedom argued on behalf of these “racially and religiously diverse” families at the Court of Appeals in Virginia, Tuesday. The families are appealing a 2022 ruling to dismiss the case.
“Bigotry cannot be defeated by more bigotry, but the Albemarle County School Board’s policy forces students to judge everyone and everything through the lens of race,” ADF’s suit says. “This violates these parents’ and children’s deeply held religious beliefs about the dignity and humanity of every person. Children should not be forced to say that the color of their skin defines them and their future, and schools should not be hiding their ideological classroom practices from parents.”
Kate Anderson, senior counsel for ADF, described some of the activities students were required to participate in during the pilot program, such as being asked to raise their hands and identify their “privilege” to fellow students.
In another activity, they were asked to write down characteristics of the “oppressor” and “oppressed” classes.
“And so what went in that box were “White, Christian male,” and then they were supposed to metaphorically break that box,” she told Fox News Digital. The attorney said students were also asked to create a vision statement of how they were going to change themselves to become more anti-racist.
“And anti-racist is really code for adopting fully the CRT-based policy that views everyone through the lens of race. And students were instructed in class that if they were silent, that supported the most egregious forms of racism, so that they had to adopt this ideology and incorporate it into their lives and announce that to their classroom in order to be in alignment with the policy,” she added.
Plaintiffs provided documents from the program that call comments about a “colorblind or “post-racial society,” or that “it doesn’t matter who you vote for,” examples of racism to avoid. The plaintiffs argued the policy “threatens to silence” dissenters of the curriculum, by implementing “restorative justice” when a student commits an act of racism.
“When school administrators determine a student has committed a racist act, the student will be provided the opportunity to learn about the impact of their actions on others through such practices as restorative justice, mediation, role play or other explicit policies or training resources,” the school policy states.
“The policy is labeled an anti-racism policy, but in fact what the policy does is it incorporates critical theory ideology that promotes race-based division and race-based resentment,” ADF lawyer Ryan Bangert previously told Fox News Digital. “It redefines the concept of racism to include having opinions that don’t align with the race-based indoctrination program of the policy and the curriculum. Even worse, it labels dissent from that program as racist.”
The legal group argued the school district was being discriminatory against students and parents who object to these ideologies in the classroom.
“Every student deserves to be treated equally under the law, regardless of race or religion. Public schools can’t impose demeaning stereotypes on students based on these characteristics,” ADF Senior Counsel Vincent Wagner said in a statement.
“Parents have the fundamental right to know what their kids are being taught in public schools and to protect them from policies and curriculum that compel them to affirm harmful ideologies. We urge the court to take a hard look at the school board’s discriminatory policy,” he added.
Albemarle County School District declined to comment on the pending litigation but reiterated they “strongly support the School Board’s anti-racism policy.”
They referred Fox News Digital to their previous statement made after last year’s court decision in their favor, saying the court “agreed with our position that plaintiffs failed to show concrete harm to students from the (anti-racism) policy’s implementation.”
In a statement on their website, Albemarle County Public Schools said the district “is committed to establishing and sustaining an equitable community that achieves the School Division’s equity mission to end the predictive value of race and ensure each individual student’s and staff’s success. The Albemarle County School Board and School Division reject all forms of racism as destructive to their mission, vision, values and goals.”
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