After politics hijacked the learning environment in conservative farm country, school board members unanimously sought to approve a policy that would keep politics out of the classroom. But now, the school board in Carroll County, Maryland, is divided on approving that policy, even as many community members view it as uncontroversial.
The policy, proposed in July 2021, would revise an existing rule on employee political activities by saying Carroll County Public Schools (CCPS) staff members “should avoid discussion of political issues, parties and candidates during classroom instruction” unless those discussions align with the approved curriculum.
Board members moved on the policy vote after witnessing how educators in CCPS embraced left-wing Critical Race Theory dogma. Parents reportedly complained about their kids learning about “white privilege” and being forced to watch a Buzzfeed video on the “privilege walk,” which shames people due to biological factors outside of their control.
Other matters shocked parents, such as “privilege scorecards” being used in middle and high schools. The questionnaires made students calculate various personal biological and social factors and score themselves, photos reviewed by The Daily Wire show.
Bryan Thompson, who leads the group Concerned Parents of Carroll County, says the politics have gotten out of hand.
“I just think we’ve drifted away from schools teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, and from letting parents have control over how they want to shape their children,” Thompson told The Daily Wire. “Teachers have crossed the line. They are teaching topics that are damaging to the kids. We’ve got to do everything we can to stop it.”
Although the board policy was scheduled to be approved in December, it was delayed after a board member proposed language that would also establish a reporting mechanism for teachers who violate the rule, as reported by the Carroll County Times. The outlet noted:
A new policy aimed at maintaining political neutrality in classrooms was scheduled to be approved during Wednesday’s Carroll County school board meeting. But it was tabled after a board member pitched a mechanism for reporting alleged violations and tracking teachers who didn’t stick to the curriculum.
Board member Donna Sivigny pushed to add a process the public could follow to report teachers who violated the proposed policy. But the school system’s lawyer, Rochelle Eisenberg, warned that such a policy might violate free speech guarantees.
According to Thompson, three board members have signaled that they will now oppose the neutrality policy — which will be voted on at 5:00 p.m. on January 12. Two of the members who will allegedly oppose it identify as conservative.
The teachers union, Carroll County Education Association, has also come out against the neutrality policy.
In an op-ed published in December, union president Teresa McCulloh claimed altering the existing political policy “puts more stress on an already exhausted, dedicated and fearful workforce.”
“Right now, your educators need your support and understanding rather than your suspicions, fear and anger,” McCulloh wrote. “Carroll County Public Schools used to be a community-oriented, family-first, school system, but the pandemic has exposed many underlying issues that have only been exacerbated by an increasingly divided country.”
CCPS did not immediately respond to request for comment.