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Justin Parmenter, NBCT teacher in North Carolina writes here about the resolution passed by a local school board that bans teaching anything that might cause students to feel stress, anxiety, or discomfort. Well, that pretty much eliminates teaching about world wars, genocide, racism, sexism, and everything bad that ever happened in history. It denies the uncomfortable facts of history, like the existence of racism, the denial of women’s rights, the internment of Japanese-Americans in camps during the Second World War, the brutality of the Holocaust, the forced relocation of Native Americans, and on and on. It also requires the suppression of many novels; only happy, pleasant stories may be read, in which no one dies, no one is betrayed, no one is cheated or harmed.
Obviously, it’s a back door attempt to ban teaching about racism, which is the crusade of the moment for the Republican Party..
Is it possible to prepare young people to live in this world if they are shielded from uncomfortable realities?
At its Monday meeting, the Cabarrus Board of Education unanimously adopted a “Resolution to Ensure Dignity and Nondiscrimination in Schools.”
The resolution notes that the board “recognizes the importance of diversity of backgrounds, opinions, and expression as foundational to providing students with the opportunity to receive a sound basic education” before stating that student learning should not result in any “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress.”
The board’s action comes after North Carolina’s State Board of Education adopted new, more inclusive social studies standards which teach history from more diverse perspectives. Some language in the standards documents has resulted in charges that the standards teach that the United States is a racist nation and that news could be distressing for some of our children…
As a teacher I feel it’s important to add that learning and growing as an individual involves discomfort. That’s an inherent part of the learning process.
This resolution isn’t really about ensuring that all students are treated with dignity in schools at all. It’s about ensuring that white students don’t learn that their country has a long history of systemic oppression towards people of color and a whole host of other traditionally marginalized groups.