At its July 20 meeting Monroe County Board of Education discussed the teaching of critical race theory in Monroe County Schools and asked Superintendent Dr. Mike Hickman to draft a resolution to send to the Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) that Monroe County BOE is opposed to teaching critical race theory in grades K-12. At the Aug. 10 meeting Hickman said the Georgia Department of Education had issued a resolution regarding critical race theory that said the same things the Monroe County BOE had said.
Board member Eva Bilderback asked that Critical Race Theory be added to the board’s July 20 meeting for discussion. Board members had attended the annual GSBA meeting and the topic had been discussed at the annual meeting.
“Our GSBA is for it,” said Bilderback. “It’s all I heard at the conference.”
She said at the conference, it was said that nationally whether to include teaching Critical Race Theory in public school classes is a local decision so the Monroe County school board should make a decision and document it.
“I’ve never really seen any divide in our community. If we stick together and let GSBA know we’re against [teaching it in public schools] maybe it will be banned,” said Bilderback. “It teaches whites are bad and blacks have never been good enough.”
“A problem exists when we use a term for which we don’t know the definition,” said BOE chair Dr. Priscilla Doster.
“I don’t know if not talking about it is an answer,” said BOE member Greg Head. “The definition is to identify young people by skin color, to nitpick history. It is a detriment. I’m not above making a statement it’s not to be taught in Monroe County Schools.”
Head said he had a lot of calls and questions from his constituents about Critical Race Theory, and all were definitely against it. Hickman said the Georgia Board of Education has recommended that it not be taught because it isn’t part of the standards of the curriculum.
“I want to make sure of the definition and that what we want to keep out is clear,” said Hickman. “As superintendent, tell me what I am and am not looking for.”
“The number one point behind CRT is that our systems are systemically racist,” said BOE member Stuart Pippin. “That is something I wouldn’t want taught to my children.”
Pippin said the National Educators Association passed a resolution that it wants CRT taught in grades K-12 but he didn’t know if Georgia has stated a position.
“With a child in school, I don’t know if I could handle it if she is told that the part of her that’s white is bad,” said Bilderback. “We have a good bedroom community and I want to protect it.”
Head said it’s possible that teachers in Monroe County would teach CRT without a policy to prevent it; the difficulty is how to create a good policy. Hickman said that if he hears of anyone teaching CRT he would deal with it without a resolution from the board.
“I don’t want to put in a policy for teachers not to do something they’re already not doing,” said Hickman.
“[Critical Race Theory] has been around for 40 years and was never meant to be taught,” said BOE member Nolen Howard. “I don’t want to handcuff teachers and give an irate parent an opportunity to say something.”
Howard suggested the board send a resolution to the Georgia School Board Association that it is not in favor of teaching CRT in its classrooms. Doster asked Hickman to prepare a resolution for the August board meeting and board members agreed.
At the Aug. 10 BOE meeting Hickman said the Georgia Department of Education had created a resolution on Critical Race Theory that stated the Monroe County BOE’s position. The board voted unanimously to affirm the state board’s resolution.
“There’s no need to recreate the wheel,” said Hickman.