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Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against the Springfield School District, alleging that the district violated a transparency law by restricting access to teacher and staff training that promoted critical theory of the race.
“Today we sued Springfield Public Schools on behalf of parents to find out exactly what their children are being taught, especially as teachers and staff undergo training where they are required to consult a ‘matrix oppression “and other documents,” Schmitt said. Fox News Tuesday. “Springfield Public Schools have stranded parents and a state official, but they won’t block the attorney general’s office.”
The lawsuit alleges that Springfield Public Schools have publicly acknowledged that they have taught teachers and staff critical race theory – a framework that involves deconstructing aspects of society to uncover systemic racism beneath the surface. In a December 2020 report, the school district reported that it had asked district leaders and staff to participate in a one-day Facing Racism Institute training, and the district claimed that the purpose of the training was to “present the components of the critical breed theory of educational research with applications to the neighborhood.”
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During a training session, an instructor asked teachers and staff to look at an “oppression matrix” and identify where they stand. According to the matrix, “privileged social groups” include “whites”, people with “a male assigned at birth”, “gender-compliant CIS men and women”, “adults” and “Protestants”. “.
The instructors also introduced staff to a figure on “Secret White Supremacy,” which featured “BIPOC as Halloween Costumes,” “Tokenism,” “All Lives Matter” and “Eurocentric Curriculum” as examples of. “Secret white supremacy” “socially acceptable”. “
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The instructors also featured a character claiming that “Celebrating Columbus Day”, “Make America Great Again”, “Confederate Flags” and “Denial of White Privilege” are examples of “secret white supremacy.”
The lawsuit also notes that the SDS head of equity and diversity claimed that after four years under the Trump administration, “the role of social justice in K-12 public education is just as important as it was during segregation, if not more. “
Schmitt alleged that SDS Superintendent Grenita Lathan said “no” when asked if the school system would “share with the public” any future equity training material. He noted that the SDS had received two requests for Sunshine Law training materials since Lathan’s statement, and claimed that “in both cases, Springfield Public Schools provided outrageous cost estimates totaling tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although the two Sunshine Law claims are identical, Springfield Public Schools provided completely different fee estimates. “
SDS spokesman Stephen Hall responded to the lawsuit in a statement provided to Fox News.
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“The SPS is disappointed with the Attorney General’s decision to use the power of his office to attack public education,” Hall said. “This is an attempt to intimidate the SPS, and while it will not prevail, it will unfortunately require considerable resources from taxpayers to defend themselves.”
Hall noted that Schmitt’s Sunshine Law claim “is similar to” a claim by State House Representative Craig Fishel. “In both circumstances, the requests are extraordinarily broad in scope and can divert hundreds, if not thousands of hours of district staff to search and review thousands of pages of documents,” the SDS spokesperson said. “The initial request includes all staff and student email communications sent over multiple years.”
He said the school district would “seek appropriate reimbursement” for the claims, noting that it was “responsible for the taxpayers and the educational needs of our 24,000 students. Meanwhile, any deliberate misrepresentation of the district’s work by elected officials must stop. “
Hall argued that the trial represents “a noisy, divisive and misguided distraction.”
“SPS has been very clear: Critical Race Theory is not taught in our classrooms,” he insisted. “Our work is about equity, not CRT. SPS is intentional in the educational experiences we provide to all of our students. Ensuring our district is equitable and inclusive is our ethical responsibility to make SPS safe for all. students and staff. Any deliberate attempt to distort this important work, especially for political purposes, is truly shameful. “
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While school districts have repeatedly denied teaching critical race theory, concerned parents have reported documents showing that staff training and school policies are based on ideas such as systemic racism and white privilege, ideas that arose out of CRT, say parents.