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Forest Hills school board passes resolution banning anti-racism

A whirlwind school board meeting ended Wednesday night with the resolution passed 3-2.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 1:29 PM EDT
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ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - The Forest Hills School Board on Wednesday passed a so-called “culture of kindness” resolution banning “anti-racism” curricula and critical race theory in schools.

The board voted 3-2 at a packed board meeting Wednesday night.

“FHSD will not utilize Critical Race Theory, intersectionality, identity, or anti-racism curriculum, for student education or any staff training,” the resolution states.

Per the resolution, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer, teachers will not be allowed to give assignments that nudge students to consider their race, socioeconomic class, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual preference, ethnicity, or culture as derogatory, to force kids to “admit privilege of oppression,” or to reflect, deconstruct or confront their identities.

Board member Leslie Rasmussen voted against the resolution, arguing in part that the district could lose some certifications from the college board if they don’t teach certain curricula that the resolution may proscribe.

”We are in their sight to lose our AP courses,” Rasmussen said. “They have, on record and have gone into the national news, have taken action and pulled licenses from the districts that put forth similar polices.”

The board meeting grew contentious, and at one point following public comment the board halted proceedings to mollify the attendees. Some parents stormed out of the meeting after the vote.

The newly adopted resolution includes the following guidelines:

  • Schools may not use race, socioeconomic class, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, or culture as a consideration when hiring or administering academic programs or evaluation systems.
  • Neither schools, nor instructors or guest speakers, shall have student participate in class or complete assignments that require, guide, or nudge the student to consider his or her race, socioeconomic class, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual preference, ethnicity, or culture as a deficiency or a label to stereotype the student as having certain biases, prejudices or other unsavory moral characteristics or beliefs based on these immutable characteristics.
  • Schools shall not discipline differently on the basis of race, socioeconomic class, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual preference, ethnicity, or culture.
  • Schools shall not engage in stereotyping based upon race, socioeconomic class, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual preference, ethnicity, or culture, including ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or belief.
  • Schools shall not force individuals to admit privilege or oppression, or to “reflect,” “deconstruct,” or “confront” their identities based on race, socioeconomic class, religion, gender identity, sex, sexual preference, ethnicity, or culture.

In recent months, Forest Hills Schools has placed itself in the center of a national debate about how educators should contextualize the historical legacy of chattel slavery and de facto racism.

In May, the district voted to ban annual Diversity Day after initially postponing it.

Board member Leslie Rasmussen introduced a motion Wednesday night to revive the event at Anderson and Turpin high schools, but that motion failed 3-2.

The so-called “Racial Diversity Awareness Day” had been held on a voluntary basis every year since at least 2017. There’s typically a series of activities, discussions, video clips and breakout sessions with guest speakers that focus on history, the criminal justice system and empathy.

The decision to ban Diversity Day led to protests and congressional testimony.

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