VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Members of the Virginia Beach School Board are looking at racial equity and how it should be taught in school.
The resolution, written by board Member Carolyn Weems, was up for debate Tuesday and would have laid down the foundation to prevent critical race theory from being taught on school property. Critical Race Theory is currently not taught in any Virginia K-12 schools.
Ultimately, the resolution failed to pass in a 4-7 vote because some school board members said the resolution as written could be misinterpreted by both parents and teachers.
The document listed a series of statements calling on the Virginia Beach City Public Schools to not teach that one race is superior over another, that an individual is not inherently racist based on skin color, or responsible for the actions committed by other members of that person’s race, skin color or religion.
The document also said the school acknowledges that it cannot limit or discourage employees from researching, discussing, or exploring books, media/publications or materials related to racial issues that divide rather than seek unity, but ask that they do it on their own time and not on school property.
The resolution would have prevented critical race theory from being taught in schools — to the dismay of some students who brought their concerns to the school board Tuesday.
“We are teaching our children white lies under a white curriculum. It is teaching them ignorance about the things happening around them,” said one VBCPS student.
Another student called out the board for ignoring systemic racism.
For the next couple hours, parents — who in meeting after meeting spoke out against critical race theory — expressed their support of the document that would prevent educators from teaching that the U.S. is a fundamentally and inherently racist country and that capitalism is racist.
“We should not need a resolution to clarify equity, but clearly we do. All students should already know they’re seen as equal,” one parent said, as another person praised the document.
“Nothing in this resolution should make any of you pause since it speaks to sustaining a learning environment that encourages unity, mutual respect and personal responsibility,” said another.
The resolution also notes the school board acknowledges racism does still exist but it is not an acceptable practice with the VBCPS division.