Parents in Collier County heated at school board meeting after claims that textbooks teach critical race theory

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
collier schools crt meeting
Credit: Collier County Public Schools

Parents and taxpayers are getting fired up during a Collier County School Board meeting. Seed to Table owner Alfie Oakes has already been escorted out of the meeting.

All of this because, according to these parents, the school board is pushing a liberal agenda onto students. They claim that the district will be spending millions of dollars on textbooks that focus on critical race theory.

An AP article seeks to define critical race theory:

“Critical race theory seeks to show how historical inequities and racism affect current public policy and social conditions. Critics say it promotes a distorted view of American history and vilifies white Americans.”

Yet, Collier County Public Schools says those books have nothing to do with critical race theory.

A school district official pushed back on these claims of pushing politics in the classroom.

“There is no evidence of critical race theory in this resource or any of the HMH Florida inter-reading student materials, teacher materials or any ancillary materials,” they said.

School board member Stephanie Lucarelli agrees with this sentiment. “After going through all these texts and having four kids in our schools as well, anything in these texts was not, you know, a problem for me.”

That did not change the minds of those who came out to make their voices heard.

Monday’s discussion came after three people filed objections to the textbooks that were approved in April.

“Tenets of critical race theory and indoctrinates students with leftist ideology,” said one speaker at the meeting.

Collier County resident Rob Tolp said, “I’ll be damned if I will allow a Marxist revolution to take place in this country, and we need to reject our children even being taught it.”

“Politics cannot be in the schools unless it’s a political class, and then it needs to be true politics and not someone’s opinion of how something is being treated; we have to be super careful,” said a passionate speaker.

“CRT focuses on mainly on teaching cultural differences, instead of commonalities. It’s cultural differences, racial differences, ethnic differences, and the keyword is differences,” said another speaker.

Some are still uncomfortable with the post on the published HMH’s website that discusses Black Lives Matter and other political issues.

No matter what, these parents say they want to keep politics out of the classroom.

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