Forsyth County residents debate diversity curriculum in schools

A subject matter called "critical race theory" that claims systemic racism is part of American society has been banned in states like Tennessee and Idaho, and on Tuesday, some people in Forsyth County told school leaders they don’t want it taught to their children.

Several people in the county passionately pleaded with the board to remove it from their curriculum at a meeting on Tuesday, but the school system has repeatedly said it does not teach critical race theory. Instead, the system has vowed to cultivate an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion—because many in the community felt excluded. 

The school system said they’ve incorporated diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, since 2013. For example, they said many English as a second language students were in special education classes because they weren’t tested in Spanish. They’ve since made changes. Other examples include literature from people of color. Some people at the meeting, though, said the initiative must stop.

"Your plan called DEI— will fail for one very specific reason. God is not in it," one of the nearly two dozen speakers said to the board of education Tuesday.

"I don’t know how or why this would be debated," Letresha Jackson said, arguing the DEI initiative is not controversial.

Georgia Representative Marjory Taylor Greene has been a vocal opponent of critical race theory which tackles white supremacy and argues racism is not a thing of the past.

Her rallying cries along with bans of the theory in other states have made some question and others defend their local schools, like the dozens who gathered in Forsyth on Tuesday. 

Those opposing the initiative said it is a disguise for teaching Marxist values.

"It teaches white people are oppressors and nothing to offer," a meeting goer said.

Those in favor said it allows everyone to be valued.

"None of us in this room are responsible for the sins of our ancestors but we are responsible so that our children don’t repeat them," another speaker said.

The education board meeting did not have diversity and inclusion on its agenda but its residents made sure to get their opinions out there.

A Forsyth County Schools representative said the district are not removing the initiative from its schools, which overall are 52% White, 5% Black and 43% of another ethnic background. The schools said the DEI initiative came to be because several people came forward nearly ten years ago about a desire for more inclusivity.

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