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Clarion-Limestone Bans Critical Race Theory

Thursday, August 19, 2021 @ 12:08 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

77369981-E03B-4D37-A273-4E88A5ED2B50CLARION TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Clarion-Limestone School District approved the first reading of revisions to their Philosophy of Education/Mission Statement on Wednesday evening that include the banning of Critical Race Theory.

(Photo by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)

The Critical Race Theory controversy has come to Clarion County, with several parents and local residents speaking out against it at the Clarion-Limestone Board meeting on Wednesday night.

One individual stated her belief that Critical Race Theory actually encourages racism rather than combatting it by further separating students, and another person noted that it “forces children to look at their differences.”

In light of the number of public comments on the topic, the issue of the revisions to the Philosophy of Education/Mission Statement was moved up in the agenda and addressed earlier than initially planned.

School board president Nathaniel Parker noted that there is no change to the opening sentence of the Philosophy of Education/Mission Statement, which states:

“District Mission Statement: To unconditionally nurture our students to be successful, proud, and prepared to thrive.”

However, the updated Philosophy of Education/Mission Statement will have the following added:

In order to offer our students a well-rounded education that teaches them how to learn by and think critically for themselves, the board is committed to providing a system of education that promotes engaged and informed students who develop the skills necessary to become lifelong learners. All students are entitled to learn in a safe and orderly environment where they are taught how to learn and think critically about diverse subjects not what to think about particular issues.

The teaching concepts which impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish for persons solely because of their skin color, race, sex, or religion are prohibited in the district as such concepts violate the principles of individual rights, equal opportunity, and individual merit underpinning our constitutional republic and therefore have no place in training for administrators, teachers, or other employees of the district. The district will not support the use of public resources in any programs, curriculum, or supplemental materials in any format that indoctrinate students in a single social or political ideology and/or theory or promote one race, religion, ideology, or sex above others.

This policy should not be construed as prohibiting the impartial study and discussion of political or other controversial issues in classroom settings, including the dissemination of factual information about historical or current events where such teaching or information reasonably relates to the course curriculum. All sides of the political issue, supported by primary or balanced secondary sources, shall be presented to permit students to be well-informed and able to make their own decisions regarding political and/or other controversial issues.

Further, this policy shall ensure that Social Justice and unsubstantiated theories of any kind, including but not limited to Holocaust Denial Theory, 9/11 Theory, The 1610 Project, and Critical Race Theory, are not advocated or presented to students as part of any curriculum unless approved in advance by the board. It is the responsibility of the board, the district’s administrators, and its professional staff to ensure that curricular standards are taught using well-documented factual resources from different viewpoints and sources.

The motion to approve the first reading of the revision passed in a unanimous vote.

Board member Gary Sproul also asked that the board take under consideration adding “Gender Theory” to the list of “unsubstantiated theories” for the second reading, and board president Nathaniel Parker noted amendments could be considered at the second reading during the next board meeting.

Sproul, who worked on the policy revision, also spoke to about the changes made.

“I just want us to be proactive about this before we have problems like some other districts across the country,” Sproul said.

“I’ve been very concerned about Critical Race Theory. I think it’s actually racist and is the indoctrination of our kids. I can’t tolerate that and don’t want to see that in any of our districts in Clarion County.”

Sproul noted that Clarion-Limestone is one of the first districts in the region to take on the issue and said he hopes other districts consider doing the same.

“I hope we will be a lighthouse for other districts in western Pennsylvania. I know other districts are watching us.

“This doesn’t take away any freedom of teaching from teachers. We just don’t want this kind of indoctrination in our schools.”

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