A group of Madison city residents and parents led by George Berry presented to the School Board on Friday, July 9, urging the Board to take preventive actions to keep ideologies like Critical Race Theory out of the school system. While the group made compelling arguments for the Board to take a stand, no commitment was provided. Club member Tina Clark and President Sheila Banister both made remarks.
A state-wide effort to lobby the Alabama School Board of Education is also underway. However, it is uncertain if the SBOE will take a stance and it looks very unlikely that will occur prior to the start of the school year.
Below are remarks provided by President Sheila Banister regarding CRT and other similar ideologies:
“In the ever changing, unstable world we live in, as parents and responsible citizens we must protect our children and prepare them with the tools to be successful in their lives and lead the next generation. While it is important to acknowledge mistakes and wrong-doings, both past and present, we have a responsibility to build bridges and create unity in our communities. We create these partnerships by focusing on programs and curriculum that promote mutual respect, cooperation, listening, kindness, love, generosity, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, and other similar qualities.
Today, some organizations and curricula focus on the faults of the past, continue to deepen divides, and make it seem as if our differences outweigh our similarities. These groups are working hard to poison the hearts and minds of our children, dashing the hopes and dreams of their futures. These programs include not only Critical Race Theory but any program that presents partial truths, promotes victimhood, hate, racism, anti-Americanism, and any other ideology whose aim is to diminish any group of people.
These programs are organizational viruses, whose sole intent is to divide and cause chaos in our world, pitting neighbor against neighbor and in this case student against student. As leaders, we must be courageous and say NO to these “modern-day viruses,” before they sneak in. We must immunize our school systems by being proactive and creating policies that forbid the training, promotion and perpetuation of this divisive ideology. While there are few instances where it may be appropriate to compare and contrast political ideologies and history, we should have guidelines in place that help teachers present the information in away that promotes learning, understanding and growth, not hate and self-loathing.
As doctors often say, the best health care is prevention. This too is the best method for combating the viruses of society and organizations. I implore you to take the lead, be courageous and prevent this virus from decaying our great school system which Madison is so widely known for.”