Parents Group Sues Tennessee School Board Over ‘Divisive and Destructive’ Critical Race Theory

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Reporter
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
July 12, 2022 Updated: July 12, 2022

A Tennessee parents’ advocacy group has announced that it filed a lawsuit on July 8 against a Franklin school board for adopting “divisive, debilitating, and racist” curriculum that teaches some children they are inherently racist based on their skin color.

The complaint alleges that a curriculum called “Wit and Wisdom” includes teaching materials that are age-inappropriate and causes children to feel guilt, anguish, and other psychological harm. It also teaches children that the United States is an irredeemably racist country.

Parents’ Choice Tennessee and its founder Patricia Lucente, and her husband James, are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Williamson County Board of Education, school officials, and state Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn.

“Critical Race Theory (‘CRT’) is an inherently divisive, debilitating and racist teaching practice that instructs students to only view life through the lens of race and presumes that some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that other students are their victims. Like all forms of political indoctrination, it has no place in Williamson County school classrooms,” the lawsuit reads (pdf).

The lawsuit asks the court to declare the use of the curriculum a violation of state law, and seek an injunction to block it from further use in classrooms.

The lawyer for the parents’ group, Larry Crain, filed the lawsuit in the 21st Judicial District Chancery Court.

‘Age-Inappropriate Materials’

Williamson County adopted the new quasi-Marxist curriculum in 2020 for grades K through five. In May 2021, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill into law prohibiting public schools from teaching critical race theory.

Patricia Lucente said in a release that the “Wit and Wisdom” curriculum was illegitimately adopted over the objections of several parents and educators.

The mom of a first-grader said children are being conditioned to view the world through a “destructive and divisive” lens.

“Wit and Wisdom uses Social Emotional Learning to masquerade as a sort of ‘feel good’ approach that steers young elementary-age children to horrific discussions of the savagery of slavery, war, misery, sexual aggression and death,” she said.

“It’s very clear that this failed curriculum focuses more on political literacy instead of literacy. Not only has Williamson County failed to protect our children from this harmful material, they have also failed to protect our teachers by instructing them to teach this questionable and destructive material with fidelity or else,” Lucente said.

Parents’ Choice Tennessee said Wit and Wisdom, which is in the language arts curriculum, is “replete with age-inappropriate materials which promote a skewed and racist view of history and portrays one race as inherently superior to another, or inherently privileged and oppressive.”

In an op-ed published by The Epoch Times, Roger Simon quotes a Franklin mother who wrote a letter to Williamson County School Superintendent Jason Golden to explain how her mixed-race child came to “despise” his white half due to the curriculum.

The Epoch Times contacted Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden and Schwinn for comment.

Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au