An Ohio school board voted to cancel a local high school's planned "Diversity Day" after several parents and board members raised concerns the event would incorporate aspects of critical race theory.
In a Sunday afternoon meeting, the board for Forest Hills School District near Cincinnati, Ohio, voted to bar Turpin High School from holding its planned "Racial Diversity Awareness Day" during school hours or with district funds, citing parental concerns.
In late March, the school board forcibly postponed the event the day before it was supposed to take place to provide an opportunity for "parent review," the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
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The Forest Hill School Board was one of many school boards nationwide that saw conservative candidates oust more liberal incumbents amid a national grassroots movement for parental rights in schools. The board now has a 4-1 conservative majority.
At the Sunday meeting, board president Linda Hausfeld read several letters from community parents expressing concerns about the event, including one note from a parent who said, "Voters made it very clear in the November election that we do not want to fund social justice and political programming that is inherently divisive."
Turpin High School had held a "Racial Diversity Awareness Day" for the past seven years. And while students attending the event were required to obtain parental permission slips, according to Hausfeld, teachers at the school were offering extra class credit for attending.
Among the planned activities was an anonymous survey that asked students various questions about their socioeconomic and racial backgrounds, including if they had more than 50 books in their house, had been racially profiled by police, or if they went to the dentist regularly.
Sara Jonas, one of the conservative school board members elected in 2021, said she didn't "understand how this is the business of students, staff or leaders in this exercise."
"How is this not political and indoctrination to the students?" she said.
The 4-0 vote by the board to cancel the event — the lone opposing board member refused to vote — illustrates the effects that newly elected anti-critical race theory school board members are having around the country. The incorporation of critical race theory, which says American institutions and culture are systemically racist and oppressive to racial minorities, into public school instruction has been a major source of controversy for over a year.
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The issue is largely credited, along with pandemic-related school closures, as having motivated a national grassroots movement of parent activism. Democratic politicians and liberal activists have repeatedly insisted critical race theory is not taught in public schools while vociferously opposing efforts by state legislatures to ban public schools from teaching it.