Colorado school district issues resounding ‘no’ to Critical Race Theory

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

In southwestern Colorado, a local school district banned Critical Race Theory from its curriculum, which move was met with charges and accusations of erasing history about non-white people.

The Durango Herald reported that the Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 Board of Education passed a motion that approved the “Resolution Opposing Principles of Critical Race Theory.”

The board created a committee to go through the school system’s curriculum and remove Critical Race Theory’s traces from it. Two board members, who have since resigned, told the local newspaper that they disagreed with the decision. One of the board members, John Schuenemeyer, voted against the motion, while the other was absent from the board meeting.

Schuenemeyer said he spoke with teachers and they saw the vote as “an effort to remove anything in teaching materials that portrays Indigenous people and other non-Caucasians in a favorable light.” He noted his concern that it could eliminate diversity in school. He said that the district’s student body is 50% non-white and that the motion was a disservice to their education.

One of the board members who voted for the motion, Sheri Noyes, disagreed with Schuenemeyer. She said, “We are not trying to get rid of any culture, diversity, anything like that – it is completely just the racism part.” She added, “Nobody should apologize for anything, nobody should blame anybody for anything that happened eons ago, years ago – it shouldn’t still be in our school today.” Another board member, Sherri Wright, said that the motion is not an attempt to erase history, “We still learn the bad – you just don’t blame people for it. You just say, ‘We’re going to learn from that so that we will not do it again.”

A teacher who disagreed with the motion, Forrest Kohere, said it was not helping teachers prepare for the school year since they would have to incorporate changes. The eighth-grade language arts teacher said, “The amount of work it takes to internalize and teach a new curriculum should not be underestimated.” He concluded, “To come back to school in the fall and find the board putting together a committee to reopen and possibly remove our curriculum was devastating.”

Kohere wanted the board to delay the motion and suggested that the board define Critical Race Theory before redoing the curriculum.

Another part of the board meeting involved a lunchtime club for LGBTQ+ students, called the Rainbow Club. Some parents said that it should not be held during lunchtime, while other said it should continue at lunchtime. The discussion was over the point that the club operated during “noninstructional time” versus “instructional time” and whether that violated district policies.