critical race theory

As Parents Protest Critical Race Theory, Students Fight Racist Behavior at School

Heated local debates over critical race theory are feeding into the bullying and harassment of students of color at school, making it harder to stop, parents and experts say

racism is a pandemic as dozens of Quincy High School students walk out
Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Teens in more than a dozen states this fall have staged protests and spoken before school boards about racist bullying and harassment from their peers — sounding alarms over discrimination in some of the same districts and states targeted by conservative activists calling for a ban on anti-racism lessons

Students have walked out of class over racist remarks by classmates in Connecticut and Massachusetts, racist social media posts by teens in Minnesota and Washington, graffiti with racial slurs found in bathrooms at schools in Michigan and Missouri, and threats against students of color in New York and Ohio.

David Hinojosa, an attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law who spearheads the nonprofit organization’s work on equal educational opportunities, is concerned that school board battles are imperiling efforts to achieve racial and gender equity in schools. He cited the widespread actions opposing diversity efforts “that have proliferated across the country,” beginning with former President Donald Trump’s anti-CRT executive order last year and continuing through state efforts to ban books and limit how history is taught.

“When we say it’s not OK to talk about this truthful history,” he said, “there’s going to be a bleedover effect into the behaviors of school teachers, the behaviors of school leaders and the behavior of students.”

The wave of student activism in recent months, he and two other civil rights experts said, shows precisely why schools cannot afford to avoid the topics of race and discrimination. 

Read the full story on here. 

The term critical race theory has a different meaning now from when it was initially taught by legal scholars in the '70s and '80s. States have passed laws banning teaching the concept, which originated in law journals, and recent political campaigns have used it as a wedge issue, leaving teachers scared that any race-related lesson will break the law. Insider Voices of Color reporter Gwen Aviles explains.
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