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A Colorado mom at the helm of a nonpartisan parental rights group balked at the Douglas County School Board’s attempt at “transparency” Tuesday in its approach to an educational equity policy she likened to the controversial critical race theory.
“We don’t need a more transparent view of a policy that is fundamentally flawed at its heart,” Deborah Flora, founder and president of Parents United America, said during a public meeting. “It divides students into groups based on their race, and let’s face it, racism to fight racism is still racism.”
She said parents had been largely left out of the process to design the district’s equity program.
“We’ve heard that this is not CRT. However, those that this board did choose to consult with are CRT proponents, and since this last meeting, they’ve referred to us and dismissed us by our skin color, called us dissenters and barriers,” she said. “It has also been insinuated that we don’t care about children with special needs, and that is outrageous and absolutely not true. Those trying to silence us purposely are conflating CRT with special needs.”
Equity programs do not always include critical race theory, an anti-racism program that critics deride as racist itself, but Flora told Fox News on Wednesday evening that the equity policy’s initial wording contained CRT-themed phrasing, including a reference to the “myth of meritocracy,” that has since been toned down.
“‘Equity’ in and of itself is a key word because it is not the same as ‘equal opportunity’ or ‘equality,'” she said. “Equity demands equal outcome that only happens when you gerrymander a system to favor one group over another. It is not what was fought for in the Civil Rights Movement.”
She also took issue with the involvement of the Gemini Group, a consulting firm that specializes in racial equity and inherent bias training, being brought in to consult on the policy.
“[The school board] hired the Gemini Group that divided students by race calling one group Oppressors, and the other Oppressed, while referring to parents as ‘dissenters’ that should just be told, ‘This is what we are teaching your children,’” she said. “This Gemini Training also referred to White, straight males as the highest of the Oppressor class.”
The Gemini Group did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.
Flora also objected to books by the critical race theory authors Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi being offered in school libraries within the district.
A Douglas County School District spokesperson said that school board members “typically do not engage or respond to specific comments” made during the public comment section of meetings and remind commenters of that before that portion of their meetings begins.
Parents ‘shut out’
The equity policy, adopted March 23, calls for creating an Equity Advisory Council that will not have the authority to set district policy but can make recommendations and provide input to the board. However, Flora said, “regular parents” won’t have that same level of influence on district policy affecting their children.
“This is just the latest of numerous instances where parents have been shut out and only found out about radical agendas through either open record requests or through leaked documents,” she said.
On the same day as Flora’s public comments, and on the other side of the country, parents in Loudoun County, Virginia, sang the national anthem to board members after they’d voted unanimously to silence public comment in response to steep criticism of progressive policies there.
Only around 50 of 259 speakers who signed up to talk had an opportunity to deliver remarks before the board ended public comment, accusing the audience of being too unruly after several interruptions, the first called by an anti-Christian mother who claimed “hate” was “dripping from the followers of Jesus in this room.”
The last straw, according to video of the event, came when former Virginia state Sen. Dick Black slammed the board for its treatment of a Christian phys ed teacher who publicly spoke out against a controversial transgender policy overhaul and allegations that progressive community members had organized a list of their conservative neighbors to harass and publicly shame.
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The crowd erupted in cheers.
The board walked out of the room and conducted the rest of its meeting in private.
The district’s superintendent then declared the meeting an unlawful assembly as parents remained in the auditorium to deliver their prepared remarks to one another, and two people were ultimately arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
Fox News’ Dejaris Holt contributed to this report.
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