Critical Race Theory and Mask Options Cause Conflict at Bladen County Board of Education meeting – BladenOnline.com – BladenOnline.com

Spread the love

The Bladen County Board of Education meeting held on Monday, August 10, 2021, was contentious, with motions on the floor regarding mask guidelines and a Resolution for Nondiscrimination.

After the Board said the Pledge to the American Flag and gave an invocation, the members heard from members of the public. One of the citizens to speak was Bladen County NAACP President Rev. Corey Lyons. First, he requested to meet with the Board in a closed session about an incident at Tar Heel Middle School last school year, and then he went on to address the Board about Critical Race Theory. 

Rev. Lyons said, “I wanted to know where the Board stood on CRT… I wanted to see what is your perspective, what are your thoughts and ideas because it is a hot-button issue. It’s one that is trending right now…”

According to Lyons, the Governor left it up to the school districts and the school boards to decide whether or not they wanted CRT to be taught in their local school districts. 

Rev. Lyons explained, “When I did my own personal study on Critical Race Theory, I found out that it is basically a study of how laws, rules, and policies, and procedures were created based upon race.”

After Rev. Lyons finished his statements, Chairman of the Board of Education, Mr. Roger Carroll, told Rev. Lyons the Board would get back with him on both those issues. 

There has been no vote by the local Board of Education explicitly addressing their stance for Critical Race Theory being taught in Bladen County. 

However, when Board Member Dennis Edwards made a motion for a Resolution on Nondiscrimination (which has nothing to do with CRT), the discussion went to the CRT topic. Board member Corey Singletary interrupted the board meeting to ask Board Mr. Edwards his opinion on CRT.  

Mr. Edwards was “interrogated” by fellow Board member Mr. Singletary on his opinions about Critical Race Theory. 

Mr. Singletary said, “Critical Race Theory needs to be taught in Bladen County Schools.” He continued to ask Mr. Edwards his opinion on the matter.

Mr. Edwards said, “I disagree with it.” When this answer did not satisfy Mr. Singletary, he continued to talk over others and ask Mr. Edwards to explain why he disagreed with the theory. 

As Board member Mr. Tim Benton tried to ask a question, Mr. Singletary continued to criticize Mr. Edwards. Chairman Carroll pounded his gavel, called for order, and explained Board member Mr. Tim Benton had the floor.

Mr. Benton asked if there was anything about CRT in our standards coming down from the State. Mrs. Cheryl White-Smith with Bladen County Schools said, “Yes sir, it is mentioned. It’s in one standard starting in fourth grade.” 

Then Mr. Benton asked if the CRT was also included in the “unpacked standards”.

“It will be included in the unpacked,” Mrs. White-Smith stated, “and we are going to do lots of training around those standards.”

Board member Mr. Gary Rhoda said, “I would like to know why some people don’t want to know the real history.”

“If the Board don’t want it, they will vote it down,” Chairman Carroll responded.  

Board member Mr. Vinston Rozier said, “DPI had some good information coming up that would be great to be part of the school curriculum. They have given us new instructions.” He then asked, “Is that what you are referring to, Mrs. White-Smith?”

Mrs. White Smith responded, “Yes sir, Dr. Atkinson and I were just discussing this. They have renewed that terminology in the standards.”

Bladen County Schools Superintendent said, “Yes, there was a revision on that side.”

Mr. Benton asked if Critical Race Theory was still going to be taught even though “those words” had been removed. “You can say anything any way you want to say it,” Mr. Benton added.

Mrs. White-Smith said, “We will be doing training on the Standards and the unpacking documents, and we are getting regional support to have a Social Studies committee that’s going to be working on these standards too.”

“Anymore discussion,” Chairman Carroll said before calling the order. The motion on the floor was not about Critical Race Theory and there has been no vote by the local Board of Education on the Critical Race Theory Standards being taught at the local level. 

The motion on the floor was for a Resolution to Ensure Dignity and Nondiscrimination, which in part states the school district will promote the following:

1. That one race or sex is not inherently superior to another race or sex;

2. That an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is not inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive;

3. That an individual should not be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex;

4. That an individual’s moral character is not determined by his or her race or sex;

5. That no individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;

6. That no individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress; and

7. That the United States comprises of persons that are all created equally.

The motion for the Resolution to Ensure Dignity and Nondiscrimination with five yes votes and four no votes. Board members Mr. Chris Clark, Mr. Dennis Edwards, Mr. Tim Benton, Mr. Alan West, and Roger Carroll voted in favor of the Resolution. Board members Mr. Gary Rhoda, Mr. Vinston Rozier, Mr. Cory Singletary, and Mr. Glenn McKoy voted against the Resolution.

The other hot topic for the local Board of Education came when Bladen County Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Jason Atkinson presented the Board with four options to consider relating to mask guidelines for the Schools reopening. 

The options Dr. Atkinson presented were as follows. 

  • Option A: Masks would be required for all students and staff, regardless of their vaccination status. The only exceptions would be for outdoor activities and athletic participation. Specific guidelines are being developed to govern masks and COVID-19 protocols for athletics. All students and staff would be required to wear masks when riding a bus. This option would be reviewed on a monthly basis. 
  • Option B: Masks would be required for all students and staff, unless they have been fully vaccinated. The only exceptions would be for outdoor activities and athletic participation. Specific guidelines are being developed to govern masks and COVID-19 protocols for athletics. All students and staff would be required to wear masks when riding a bus. This option would be reviewed on a monthly basis. 
  • Option C: Masks would be strongly encouraged for students, but not required. Staff would be required to wear masks unless they have been fully vaccinated. All students and staff would be required to wear masks when riding a bus. 
  • Option D: Masks would be strongly encouraged for students and staff, but not required. All students and staff would be required to wear masks when riding a bus. 

A nurse with Bladen County Schools presented the Board with information published by the North Carolina Health and Human Services Agency, the CDC, and Bladen County Health and Human Services Director about the importance of vaccines and masks. After the nurse’s presentation, Board member Mr. Dennis Edwards was the first to make a motion on the subject. The motion was to adopt Option D, with the added amendment that masks would also be required in the hallways.

The motion failed with four members voting yes and five members voting no. Board members Mr. Chris Clark, Mr. Dennis Edwards, Mr. Alan West, and Mr. Roger Carroll voted in favor of the motion. Voting against the motion were Board members Mr. Tim Benton, Mr. Gary Rhoda, Mr. Vinston Rozier, Mr. Cory Singletary, and Mr. Glenn McKoy. 

Next came a motion by Board member Mr. Glenn McKoy to adopt Option A. This motion failed to pass as well. Board members Mr. Gary Rhoda, Mr. Vinston Rozier, Mr. Cory Singletary, and Mr. Glenn McKoy voted for the motion. Mr. Chris Clark, Mr. Dennis Edwards, Mr. Tim Benton, Mr. Alan West, and Mr. Roger Carroll voted against the motion.

The third motion passed with five yes votes and four no votes. Board member Mr. Tim Benton made a motion to adopt Option D as written. The motion states, “Masks would be strongly encouraged for students and staff, but not required. All students and staff would be required to wear masks when riding a bus.”

Board members Mr. Chris Clark, Mr. Dennis Edwards, Mr. Tim Benton, Mr. Alan West, and Mr. Roger Carroll voted in favor of the motion for Option D as it is written. Board members Mr. Gary Rhoda, Mr. Vinston Rozier, Mr. Cory Singletary, and Mr. Glenn McKoy voted against the motion. The motion was approved for adoption. 

Students and staff in Bladen County Schools will not be required to wear a mask while in school. All students and staff would be required to wear masks when riding a bus. The adoption goes into effect on August 10 for the 2021-2022 school year.

The guidelines for masks in athletics and sports were not decided on at the Monday evening meeting. 

Listen to the part of the Board Meeting covering these topics on BladenOnline’s YouTube Channel linked below:

[embedded content]

Related articles and videos:

NCGOP “Chairman’s Chat” Interviews Superintendent Catherine Truitt on Critical Race Theory, Masks in Schools, and More

Original News Source Link

Leave a Comment