The ongoing “to be or not to be” debate involving Critical Race Theory is one you’ve seen us cover many times in the past. Unfortunately, there still hasn’t been a common ground reached when it comes to how America’s past & current struggles with racism are taught in schools.
An English teacher at Greenfield High School in Missouri found that out the hard way after she was fired when a parent reported her for teaching CRT by way of a worksheet titled “How Racially Privileged Are You?”
A southwest Missouri school board voted not to renew the contract of Kim Morrison due to the accusation, which stems from a book themed around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. according to Springfield News-Leader. Morrison says she’s used the 2017 New York Times Bestseller Dear Martin by Nic Stone in her curriculum for two years now, yet this was the first year the 15-question worksheet was implemented.
The complaints began in late February, resulting in Morrison being called into the office of high school principal Jennifer Roberts for a conversation that once again proved that many are confusion on what exactly is and isn’t considered CRT. “I said discussing racism is not CRT and [Roberts] said she understood but that this is what she is hearing,” Morrrison told News-Leader, later adding, “[the worksheet] was to prepare students for the conversation that was going to happen between two characters that we were about to read.”
More on what led to Morrison being fired below, via Springfield News-Leader:
“Morrison, in her fourth year in Greenfield, was called to the office again in mid-March, a couple of days before a school board meeting.
‘(The principal) was still fielding complaints,’ Morrison said. ‘That’s when I got concerned that my conversation with her two weeks prior hadn’t resolved anything.’
She asked to meet with Superintendent Chris Kell after school March 16, the day of the board meeting.
‘I requested a meeting and he didn’t ask me why. When I went in there, he started the conversation and said that we didn’t know if I would be rehired or not,’ she said. ‘He could not predict.’
In closed session, the board voted not to renew Morrison’s contract. She followed up by asking for the reason, in writing.”
In the letter response from Superintendent Chris Kell on behalf of the board, the reason was stated clear: “Your decision to incorporate the worksheet associated with the novel Dear Martin, due to the content and subject matter.”
Dear Martin is a young adult novel that Stone wrote in response to the 2012 murder of Jordan Davis, centered around an Atlanta teen at a predominately white high school that one night has a bad run-in with a white cop. The incident inspires him to write letters to the spirit of MLK Jr. in hopes of making sense of navigating life as a Black man.
It seems the school’s issue is more with the worksheet rather than the book itself, but it’s also unfortunate to see educators being censored and pretty much being told how to do their job. Let us know what you think, and if the school board made a valid decision here.
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