The San Ramon Valley Unified School District in California has allegedly told students that white people have “no culture.” This has ignited a debate about the role of schools when addressing sensitive topics and the importance of parental involvement in curriculum development.
The heart of the controversy lies in a parent’s report that her daughter was taught about white privilege during a choir class and told that white people don’t actually have a distinct culture.
The parent who reported the incident said, “As a parent of a choir student, having outside instruction regarding white privilege with the choir students was incredibly hurtful, demeaning, and demeaning to many students in the class.”
The school district has acknowledged the incident and is taking steps to address any bias practices. They have created a new role for equity and are currently working with an equity teacher on special assignment.
On the school’s website, they say they hope to “interrupt any inequitable practices in school culture and curriculum and eliminate barriers to personal and academic success.”
This frustration has led parents to call for a comprehensive investigation into the incident and a request for more parental involvement in the curriculum development process.
The parent who reported the incident expressed her frustration over the lack of opportunities for parents to opt-in or opt-out of classroom content.
She said, “It is apparent that there are things that are being taught to our children where the district or the school does not provide a necessary opt-in or opt-out form for parents.”
The incident in question revolved around a discussion that was not aligned with the curriculum. A district spokesperson told Crisis in the Classroom, that it was actually a guest teacher and the discussion “was not an appropriate topic for this class and may have been offensive to some of our students.”
Not the First Controversy
This incident is not the first time the San Ramon Valley Unified School District has faced controversy over sensitive issues. In a previous incident, tensions flared during a public debate over a resolution regarding the display of a Pride flag in June.
A Unanimous Vote
Some people questioned whether schools should delve into issues related to sexuality and gender, suggesting that these topics should be left to parents. However, the school board passed the resolution unanimously despite the opposition voiced by parents.
In response to this incident, people seem to agree that what was said to these students was not okay and highlight that there are actually many distinct white cultures.
One social media user commented, “Maybe not as a whole, but there are literally dozens and dozens of different cultures within the white community. French, Irish, German, Polish, English, Danish. All white, and all have their own distinct cultures.”
A second user said, “We all came to this country with whatever culture we adopted from our home country. As an Italian, this is insulting to me what this teacher is preaching.” A third user who felt this comes from a larger problem of racism in California simply said, “Typical California racist.”
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