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WCSD Board Forms Task Force To Review Social Justice Curriculum

Exterior of the Washoe County School District administration building.
Paul Boger
KUNR Public Radio
The Washoe County School Board met at district headquarters Tuesday, June 8, 2021, to form a task force to examine grades K-5 social justice learning materials.

The Washoe County School Board is creating a task force to review materials related to the district’s K-5 social justice curriculum. The board formed the task force after hours of public comment in opposition to social justice being taught in schools.

Board trustees listened to public comment over the district’s proposed social justice curriculum for more than five hours Tuesday. Some voiced support for it; however, most in the crowd were there to make their opposition heard.

For many, their chief concern is a form of academic study known as critical race theory — which examines the intersection of racism, policy and how they interact with the legal system. District officials say CRT will not be considered in the development of the curriculum.

“I want my innocent grandson left alone,” said Lori Doyle, one of the speakers during public comment. She was among those who said the lessons are an inexcusable overreach by schools into topics better left to families.

“Let his parents raise him and teach him core values,” she said. “You should not be taking on the role of the parent.”

Others criticized the social justice curriculum as an attempt to sow racial division for political gain.

In light of those concerns, the board voted instead to form a 16-member task force, which will review potential curriculum materials in order to weed out divisive or political content.

According to District Superintendent Kristen McNeill, the district has to create the curriculum under state law. The district wants the community’s input to develop lesson plans that best suit the district’s needs to accomplish that goal.

“It’s using those materials to start the discussion as far as what our curriculum would then look like because what we felt was important is that it needed to fit our community, our school community,” McNeill said.
The task force will submit its first report on the potential curriculum to the school board this fall.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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