An unidentified Virginia mother’s claim that a public school history lesson led to her white daughter questioning whether she was evil is triggering Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ BS detector, and it should be. The mother formerly in the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) district spoke at a school board meeting Tuesday about a host of concerns from school closings stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic to allegations of a sexual assault coverup in the district. She said what sparked her decision to change school districts was the “swift and uncompromising political agenda” forced on parents by former superintendent Eric Williams, interim superintendent Scott Ziegler, and the school board.
“First, it was in the early spring of 2020 when my six-year-old somberly came to me and asked me if she was born evil because she was a white person. Something she learned in a history lesson at school,” the mother said. “Then, you kept the schools closed for a year-and-a-half, despite the science indicating it was safe for kids to return. Now, you’ve covered up a rape, and arrested, humiliated, and falsely accused parents of being domestic terrorists.”
Actually, the more than 745,000 COVID-19 related deaths and recent spikes in cases would indicate kids returning to school wasn’t safe for the larger community, and the National School Boards Association’s assertion that violence and threats against school officials could be “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes” is far from an overreach.
President of the National School Boards Association Viola Garcia, and Chip Slaven, interim executive director, signed a letter to President Joe Biden detailing how “threats or actual acts of violence against our school districts are impacting the delivery of educational services.” They listed:
An individual was arrested in Illinois for aggravated battery and disorderly conduct during a school board meeting. During two separate school board meetings in Michigan, an individual yelled a Nazi salute in protest to masking requirements, and another individual prompted the board to calla recess because of opposition to critical race theory.
In New Jersey, Ohio, and other states, anti-mask proponents are inciting chaos during board meetings. In Virginia, an individual was arrested, another man was ticketed for trespassing, and a third person was hurt during a school board meeting discussion distinguishing current curricula from critical race theory and regarding equity issues. In other states including Washington, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Tennessee, school boards have been confronted by angry mobs and forced to end meetings abruptly.
“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” Garcia and Slaven wrote. One white woman’s claim otherwise should hardly be taken as fact when it’s up against actual reports of violence from school officials, but here we are. Just one video of the white mother tweeted by writer Christopher Rufo had amassed 1.4 million views by Monday morning.
When Hannah-Jones came across the woman’s claims, the journalist tweeted on Sunday: “The teaching staff in London County Schools is 87 percent white, but we are to somehow believe all these white teachers are teaching white children that they are evil for being born white. It didn’t happen.”
She added in her Twitter thread:
”Some facts about Loudon County. It is one of the wealthiest districts in the country and it last year apologized for how it 1) threatened to stop funding public schools if Black children were allowed into white schools. 2) threatened to close schools facing desegregation orders
3) Withheld money from Black schools unless the parents pledged to support segregation 4) Supporter constructional amendment to allow white children to attend private school instead of be forced to share a classroom with Black kids.
So, yeah, these parents do not want this history taught because they’d rather not let their children know about the proud white community that supported depriving Black kids of an education rather than integrate schools Black parents were also paying taxes for bc it IS SHAMEFUL.”
Hannah-Jones has been targeted by Republicans for her “1619 Project” in The New York Times Magazine and her correct assertion in the piece that slavery has had an undeniable effect on American society. She highlighted the Loudoun County mom’s video specifically after Republican parents in the district swarmed a school board meeting in opposition to critical race theory, which they have accepted to mean anything remotely related to racism in America. In actuality, elementary or even high school campuses were never under any real “threat” of the framework reaching students; it is a higher-level academic framework more frequently taught in law schools. Critical race theory maintains that America’s legal system is largely based on its history with racism, a truth privileged Republicans apparently still aren’t ready to grapple with.
The Washington Post journalist Hannah Natanson said in her analysis of the Loudoun County district’s contribution to this struggle this summer that the county, “a wealthy and diversifying slice of purple-turning-blue suburban Northern Virginia, is fast becoming the face of the nation’s culture wars.” Natanson described:
“Angry parents battling over critical race theory at rallies, outside school buildings and in rival Facebook groups. A teacher suing the school system after he was suspended for refusing to use transgender students’ pronouns. A raucous school board meeting that began with dueling protests over transgender rights and culminated in an arrest.“
Wendall Fisher, the first Black person elected to the Loudoun County School Board, told The Washington Post in July, “it’s shameful.”
“It’s just shameful,” he said.
Fisher is right.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.