The proposal came from the Nevada Family Alliance – a group that describes itself as a ‘watchdog organization – at a Washoe County school board meeting this week.
It is in response to a plan from the school district, which includes the cities of Reno and Sparks, to expand the K-5 curriculum and teach more about equity, diversity and racism.
The alliance’s suggestion for teachers to wear body cameras followed frustration from parents about the ‘lack of transparency by teachers promoting a social justice narrative’.
The Nevada Family Alliance – a group that describes itself as a ‘watchdog organization – has suggested at a board meeting this week that Washoe County teachers wear body cameras to make sure they aren’t teaching critical race theory in schools. A man is picturing protesting against CRT outside the board meeting
‘Every day we are told of another incident where a teacher is violating the privacy of a student or contradicting the lessons taught by parents at home,’ Karen England, founder of the group, said.
‘Creating a record that could be viewed by appropriate parties, if necessary, might be the best way to urge teachers to stick to traditional teaching.’
The group believes the body cameras are a ‘necessity’.
‘We expect that the teachers’ unions will reject this proposal immediately. But we should ask, what do they have to hide?’ England said.
‘If police do a better job interacting with the public when they are wearing body cameras, how much more important is it for teachers to do the same?’
The district hasn’t commented on the body camera proposal.
The curriculum has been the subject of fierce debate, which has resulted in large crowds at local school board meetings. The district was forced to set up overflow rooms and loudspeakers to accommodate attendees.
At a packed local school board meeting on Tuesday, opponents of the curriculum proposal camped on side of the entrance wearing MAGA hats and carrying signs that read ‘No CRT,’ ‘CRT teaches racism,’ and ‘The School Board works for the people!’
On the other side of the entrance, students, parents and teachers wore green T-shirts and carried signs with slogans including ‘Amplify Student Voices’ to signify support for ‘Washoe County School District Students for Change’, the group that has pushed for curriculum additions.
The school district insists critical race theory isn’t part of curriculums or plans, but a nationwide discussion about it has touched down locally and stoked fears among those who doubt administrators’ explanations.
Opponents say the districts’ plans incorporate tenets of critical race theory, which draws a line from slavery and segregation to contemporary inequities, and argues that racism remains embedded in laws and institutions.
The proposal was put forward by the Nevada Family Alliance – a group that describes itself as a ‘watchdog organization. They put out this guide on how to combat critical race theory
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: THE CONTROVERSIAL RACE IDEOLOGY BEING TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS
The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.
The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.
The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.
‘You say there’s no CRT in this curriculum,’ Sparks resident Bruce Parks said at the Tuesday board meeting in Reno.
‘It is being taught in our schools right now. When you use words and language like ‘white male privilege’ ‘systemic racism,’ that’s straight out of CRT.’
Superintendent Kristen McNeill ended up recommending the district form a task force to review curriculum instead of implementing the plan.
The board approved the task force on Wednesday.
It comes as some lawmakers across the country pass measures prohibiting critical race theory in schools, claiming the lesson plans constitute indoctrination and teach students to hate the United States.
Nevada has bucked that trend with lawmakers approving a proposal last month to add multicultural education to social studies curriculum standards and teach students about the historic contributions of members of additional racial and ethnic groups.
Nevada Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Dr Jonathan Moore said the laws clarified social studies ‘content themes’, which already included concepts like social justice and diversity.
The standards do not include critical race theory.
He cautioned against conflating the pursuit of equity with ‘the idea that students are being indoctrinated with this very philosophical principle about race and how it has impacted society’ and said curriculum debates were nothing new, referencing parallel disputes about teaching climate change and evolution.
‘People often forget how political that standards can be when you’re talking about what students need to know and be able to do,’ he said.
Clashes over how to teach students about racism and its role in US history are also currently raging in other Nevada school districts.
In Carson City, a proposal to incorporate concepts like equity into the strategic plan raised parental concerns about how schools broach the topic of race.
At a Carson City School Board meeting on Tuesday, Jason Tingle said he was concerned when he heard talk about critical race theory in schools but he had reviewed district materials and concluded the fears were unfounded.
‘I’ve yet to see anything in the curriculum that shows that we are actually going to take a hardcore approach to critical race theory,’ said Tingle, who has four children enrolled in district schools.
‘Until our kids come home and show us something different or tell us something different, then we should keep our faith in the school district and let them do what they were sent here to do.’
Meanwhile, in Clark County, the black mother of a mixed-race student is suing a Las Vegas charter school over a ‘Sociology of Change’ course that covers the concept of privilege as it pertains to race, gender and sexual orientation.