Virginia Parents Sue School District Over CRT Curriculum

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
December 25, 2021 Updated: January 5, 2022

Parents in Virginia have sued Albemarle County School Board over so-called “anti-racist” curriculum materials that they allege are indoctrinating their children with the tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) that are actually racist at their core.

The plaintiffs, nine parents and their children, filed the complaint (pdf) in Albemarle County Circuit Court on Dec. 22 with the help of attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a legal nonprofit.

ADF said in a statement that the parents had filed suit against the school board for “enacting discriminatory policies and indoctrinating students in radical ideology,” violating students’ civil rights by treating them differently based on race.

“Our clients believe that every person is made in the image of God, deserves respect, and therefore, should not be punished or rewarded for something over which they have no control,” ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson said in a statement. “Public schools have no right to demean students because of their race, ethnicity, or religion.”

Phil Giaramita, the communications officer for Albemarle County Public Schools, told The Epoch Times that they are not able to review the lawsuit’s allegations because they have not been served.

The parents’ complaint notes that, in 2019, Albemarle County Public Schools adopted an “Anti-Racism Policy” with the stated goal of eliminating all forms of racism, but that this policy and its implementation into the school curriculum are steeped in the ideas of CRT, which “views everyone and everything through the lens of race.”

“Far from exploring ideas or philosophies surrounding justice and reconciliation, that ideology fosters racial division, racial stereotyping, and racial hostility. So does the Policy,” the complaint states.

The parents claim that incorporation of CRT into the curriculum amounts to “embracing a radical new understanding of ‘racism’ that harms and denigrates everyone,” classifying all individuals into racial groups and identifying them as either “perpetually privileged oppressors or perpetually victimized members of the oppressed, denying agency to both.”

The complaint says that the ideas of CRT impute racism not just to those who consciously discriminate on the basis of race but also to “those of a certain race (white) who do not actively participate in the prescribed dismantling” of what CRT advocates argue is systemic racism baked into America’s institutions and implicitly present in the attitudes of those who aren’t actively “anti-racist.”

One example of CRT in the school curriculum involves a slide instructing eighth graders to understand racism as “the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people,” according to classroom materials cited in the complaint.

Another example features a slide encouraging students to be “anti-racist,” because “[i]n the absence of making anti-racist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society.”

The parents are asking the court to block the school district from implementing parts of the “anti-racist” policy that require “the indoctrination of Albemarle students in an ideology that denigrates students—all students—based on their race.”

They argue that the policy violates the plaintiffs’ equal protection rights, forces them to affirm messages that go against their beliefs, silences dissenting opinions in violation of free speech rights, and interferes with parents’ rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'