A group of “concerned citizens” attended the Morgan County R-II School District Board of Education meeting Monday, Nov. 15 and presented the board with a resolution they hope the board will adopt that prohibits the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which the group sees as a threat in the district.
This is the second time this academic year the school board has been approached about the subject. The R-II board previously responded, in July, to a series of questions related to CRT, denying the district’s curriculum included any reference to CRT or that CRT was being taught in the district.
Prior to the Nov. 15 presentation of the proposed resolution, Lesa Moesch spoke publicly to the board and those in attendance. She emphasized the group she represented “feels most of our teachers are doing a great job” but concern was still present about the concepts of “Social-Emotional Learning” and “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”
“There are several teachers who are feeling scared and apprehensive about CRT,” said Moesch. “To make the main focus racism puts our students at a disadvantage. … and to say the very establishment of our Republic is racist is detrimental.” She also spoke about the importance of “counteracting liberalism.”
The resolution itself, which the board took no official action regarding, included the following direct quotes defining their belief that CRT is or promotes the following:
… an ideology based on false assumptions about the United States; an artificial distortion of the traditional definition of racism; a divisive ideology that assigns moral fault to individuals solely on the basis of an individual’s race; assigns generational guilt and racial guilt for conduct and policies that are long in the past; violates the fundamental principle of equal protection under the law; views social problems primarily as racial problems; only individuals classified as white people can be racist because only white people control society; racism is the usual way society does business; individuals are either a member of the oppressor class or the oppressed class because of race or sex; an individual is inherently morally or otherwise superior to another individual because of race or sex; an individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other for of psychological distress on account of his or her race of sex; meritocracy or traits such as, but not limited to, a hard work ethic or the scientific method are racist or sexist or were created by members of a particular race to oppress members of another race; the advent of slavery in the territory that is now the United States, or the preservation of slavery was a material motive for independence from England …
The resolution contains additional, similar claims and ends with the statement the district curriculum may include instruction about Critical Race Theory if such instruction plays “only a subordinate role” in the overall course and “such instruction focuses on the flaws in Critical Race Theory.”
New Staff Positions
In other school board business, the board approved the creation of additional coaching positions, including a fourth high school wrestling coach to help with the high numbers of participants, especially the influx of female wrestlers; and a middle school assistant basketball coach to be a “floater” when needed between the boys and girls teams.
The addition of three part-time custodial positions was also approved, to help with weekend events, after school, and substituting for sick days.
Family Resource Center
Amanda West presented the board with a plan to establish a Family Resource Center at the school. The center is designed to help facilitate the involvement of parents/guardians in training workshops; connect families and students to community resources; offer strategies for social and emotional well-being; serve as an information hub; to share knowledge and expertise; and more.
Future of Food Service
The board is considering whether or not to renew a 5-year contract with its current food service provider, Opaa!, or return to administering the program using district employees and resources. Challenges include procurement of commodities, staff benefits/pay, compliance with federal nutrition guidelines, menu development, and related items.
Miscellaneous
A staff points-based incentive plan will be implemented on a trial basis.
Tutoring will be provided beginning January 2022.
The next meeting of the Morgan County R-II School District Board of Education is scheduled 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, one day later than usual, in the middle school library in Versailles.