A petition against slavery was the latest racist incident at this school. Parents and lawmakers are fed up

She says it was yet another example of a racist incident at Park Hill South High School in suburban Kansas City, Missouri.

“She was very upset about it. My daughter is Ethiopian,” Stutterheim told CNN this week.

Her daughter faced racism directly, Stutterheim says, and “the more she talked about it, the more upset she got.”

Stutterheim did what any concerned parent would do and contacted the school to find out what had happened.

What she found was that an increasingly familiar scenario was unfolding at her child’s school. In the United States, there are two diametrically opposed conversations about race going on at the same time. In one, some white parents tell school leaders that lessons about race make white students feel bad. And in the other, there is the racism that is really happening in schools.

Neighborhood chiefs condemned the petition and Park Hill superintendent Jeanette Cowherd posted a video message days after Stutterheim started asking questions.

“Going forward, we have two options. We can respond, or we can respond. We choose to respond, to create a long-term solution that best meets the needs of our students, staff, families and of our community. “

Part of that answer is the district’s search for an expert advisor on race and inclusion. Yet, many white parents across the United States opposed these efforts and confused with the debate over what is and is not critical race theory.

Park Hill is no different.

At a recent school board meeting, Sally Roller echoed a view shared by many white parents.

“I would like to address critical race theory, sometimes referred to as culturally appropriate teaching. History is what it is whether we like it or not, and should not be rewritten,” she said. . “I am concerned that this will cause further division and racism by making others seen by skin color rather than other individual personal qualities of the person.”

Critical Race Theory is not taught in the K-12 curriculum.

A national debate

Nicole Price is the CEO of Lively Paradox Professional Training and Coaching. She was hired at schools in Missouri and Kansas. She says she usually gets a phone call after something racist has happened. White school leaders are often in shock.

“‘Am I surprised? “This is the question I get the most,” she told CNN.

She said she was disappointed but never surprised.

“I spend my life trying to get education front and center because that’s how we know we can help solve some of these issues.”

Nicole Price

Today, Price’s job is harder than ever. After a Missouri school district hired her to lead a session, the school board received threats, she says.

She had a driver and requested additional security. Price was going to school to do a presentation on “Radical Empathy”.

While Republican lawmakers across the United States have fueled debate over critical race theory and the inclusive agenda, Democratic lawmakers like State Senator Cindy Holscher are pushing back in Kansas.

State Senator Cindy Holscher

“I think the (racist) incidents have increased, and I say this because of what I hear from my children. That the environment is a little more tense in our schools. There has been more hatred in the course. the last two years. “

This Kansas City school district isn’t the only one wondering how to talk about race and racism.

In iowa, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law this summer that strictly dictates what teachers can tell students about race and America.

“We have banned Critical Race Theory and any program or training that teaches that the United States or Iowa is inherently racist or sexist,” Reynolds said.

Tennessee also passed a new law banning history lessons that might make students “uncomfortable” because of their race. Still, in August Suburban Nashville sheriff’s deputies were called in after a white soccer player threatened a black player on social media while wearing a Ku Klux Klan balaclava.

An increase in incidents

Holscher, who lives in Overland Park, says fears of a critical race theory hamper schools that deal with other incidents after a photo surfaced of a racist homecoming proposal at a nearby high school in Olathe, Kansas.

The school condemned the image, but three weeks earlier a father had condemned efforts to expand racial education in schools in Olathe.

“I am here to voice my opposition to DEI, Critical Race Theory or its derivatives that are being educated, indoctrinated or even suggested in the school district,” John Highfill said at a board meeting. from Olathe public school last month.

“Every piece of this propaganda that will reveal itself in the false doctrines of white frailty, white rage, white privilege and the like is just that. Wrong.”

Holscher has received emails in the past two months from white parents complaining that they fear their children will learn to hate their white skin.

But Holscher says “we don’t have CRTs in our schools. Second, that’s not at all what happens when it comes to any kind of teaching about teaching kids not to like their white skin. , that just doesn’t happen. “

Parents like Julie Stutterheim believe her peers need to be aware of the reality of what is really going on in schools.

“I watched my white daughter, my oldest daughter, grow up and not go through the things my younger daughter has to go through. So it’s really hard to see.”

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