“Asking teachers to hide anything from parents does not reflect the mission, vision and values of the Rockwood School District,” read Willott’s email to parents on Friday. “As a district, we strive for transparency and we recognize that open communication is vital between parents and staff to better meet the needs of our students. We also value you as essential partners and allies in the education of our children, and we are always ready to discuss any questions or concerns related to all aspects of the education of your children.
Janet Deidrick, whose son is in ninth grade, said she got “heartache” listening to the audiobook and hearing what she describes as racial stereotypes and anti-police sentiment.
“It looks like they have a program to turn our kids into political activists and we don’t think that’s what school is for, especially when only one side is shown,” she said. “I don’t think they bring the races together, I think they divide.”
Virtual schooling across the country gave parents a window into their students’ classes, which led to debates about the curriculum. On the one hand, parents say the districts are pushing ideals of social justice and fairness that amount to a Marxist takeover of schools that portrays white students as oppressors and black students as victims. The other side says schools should recognize the legacy and continuing effects of slavery and segregation to counter racism and build more equitable communities.