I’d like to report indoctrination in Union County Public Schools

Educators returning to work in Union County Public Schools for the 2023-24 school year are being required to agree to a handful of specific policies including one stating that they won’t cause any student to feel “discomfort” during discussions about race or gender while at school.

The policy was initially enacted by the county’s far-right school board in 2021, the year extremist groups across the United States carried out their manufactured CRT hysteria campaign.

Union County Public Schools’ efforts to ensure staff are adhering to mandated restrictions on discussions of race and gender comes just months after a student flying a Confederate flag at Porter Ridge High School led one parent to lament “We just want to make sure that our children are safe. Nobody wants to go to school and feel unsafe. I’m not even at the school and it makes me feel unsafe.”

(In contrast with reality, a district spokesperson said the flag didn’t cause a disruption or safety concerns. The spokesperson added that no policies prohibit the flying of flags on school property. On a related note, Union County’s school board banned pride flags from classrooms this past May.)

To be clear, if there’s any county that could benefit from honest conversations about race and systemic oppression it’s Union County, North Carolina.

UC is the proud home of former US Senator Jesse Helms, who once said in a campaign ad “White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories?”

Union County is majority white but its population is still nearly 13% African American and 12.4% Hispanic.

Yet the right-wing school board’s policy which employees are being forced to swear allegiance to is all about ensuring that white people don’t feel bad about racism and that honest conversations about our history of racial oppression and how current systems still disproportionately benefit white people are less likely to happen in schools.

Union County’s policy is all about whitewashing our students’ education and perpetuating a harmful status quo, and it amounts to indoctrination.

The same year Union County’s school board passed its white comfort policy, North Carolina’s controversial Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson launched his “F.A.C.T.S. task force” to collect evidence of what Robinson said was rampant indoctrination by the state’s educators.

Robinson’s F.A.C.T.S. site asks for examples of “…indoctrination according to a political agenda or ideology, whether through assigned work, teacher comments, or a hostile classroom environment.”

He’ll be getting a new submission today.

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