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Video: Republican Stafford County Supervisors Rail Against Two of Their Favorite Bogeymen (“Critical Race Theory” and “Pronouns”), Threaten to Withhold School Funding Used For “This Type of Instruction”

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Check out the following video from last night’s Stafford County Board of Supervisors meeting, at which they voted unanimously (5-0, with the one Democratic member and one Republican member not present) to put together a resolution to be voted on in two weeks to take funding away from schools if any teacher asks a student for their preferred pronouns or if anyone comes forward to show that they are teaching “critical race theory” (which isn’t taught in Virginia public schools). See below for highlights, as Stafford County Supervisors Gary Snellings and Crystal Vanuch “leaned in” last night on the “CRT” and “transgender issue” bogeymen.

Specifically, last night, Supervisor Snellings pushed an agenda item (#18 – see here), “Discuss Stafford County School Curriculum, Project 1619, and Critical Race theory,” with a presentation by Dr. Stanley Jones, Interim Superintendent of the Stafford County Public Schools. As Dr. Jones attempted to explain:

  • “The answer to the question about ‘Critical Race Theory’ is simple – we don’t teach it, we never have. I know there’s a lot of emotion across the country about this issue. Every single thing we teach is publicly available and developed by the Virginia Department of Education. So we don’t teach it…I think we’ve been very transparent.”
  • The top priority for Stafford County schools right now is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and getting kids caught up from unfinished learning stemming from the pandemic and 18 months of kids not being in school.
  • As for Supervisor Snellings’ question about teaching Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, Dr. Jones responded that they’re not part of the Stafford County public schools curriculum either.
  • Regarding a “9/11 sensitivity training” video, Dr. Jones said the video was taken down from the VA Dept. of Education website and “our teachers aren’t a part of that.”
  • On Stafford County teacher orientation, Dr. Jones said there “was no discussion about ‘white privilege’.”
  • On whether Stafford County teachers were asked to identify themselves by their pronouns, Dr. Jones said  “that is not a directive or an expectation that has been set by any of our staff in Stafford County.” Dr. Jones added, “I think there’s lot of information out in the media that may lead people to believe we’re doing some of those things. We’re not.”

In response, Supervisor Snellings basically arguing with Dr. Jones and badgering him over “pronouns,” “9/11 sensitivity training” (which he called “shameful”), Ibram X. Kendi, etc. Basically, Dr. Jones repeated what he’d already said, adding that “this is a distraction for us…we have more important work to do…to make up for the last 18 months, that’s where our focus is.” Supervisor Snellings then tried to twist Dr. Jones’ words and badgered him yet again, trying as hard as he could to push him into a debate over “Critical Race Theory,” etc. Dr. Jones yet again reiterated that his focus is on recovering from the pandemic and getting kids caught up on unfinished learning. Supervisor Crystal Vanuch then continued on in the same vein as Supervisor Snellings, with her emphasis being on “pronouns,” as well as the “National Equity Project” and “Critical Race Theory.” Dr. Jones then correctly pointed out that “Critical Race Theory” is taught in higher education and law schools, neither of which is the case with the Stafford County Public Schools. Supervisor Vanuch then cited Wikipedia to argue that “Critical Race Theory” is “definitely not a law school-based curriculum” (in fact, if you go to Wikipedia, it specifically states, “As of 2002, over 20 American law schools and at least three non-American law schools offered critical race theory courses or classes that covered the issue.”). Finally, Supervisor Snellings stated the following:

  • “I’d like to bring back to the next meeting [in two weeks] a resolution by the Board stating our opposition to ‘Critical Race Theory’, the request to identify pronouns from students…I’ll ask the Board to look at it and pass it, and I’d like to tie that to funding…any money that’s used for this type of instruction be withheld by the Board.

Just keep all this in mind, by the way, the next time anyone tries to argue that local elected offices aren’t important, because clearly they are.

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