WCSD trustees respond to outcry against diversity curriculum proposal

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 9:26 PM PDT
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WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - The Washoe County School Board of Trustees is responding to the public outcry against the proposed diversity education for students in kindergarten through fifth grade classes.

The public is invited to apply for a position on a task force that will oversee supplemental curriculum, which could include topics about diversity.

The board of trustees and Superintendent Dr. Kristen McNeill say they don’t want materials that are divisive or political in nature.

This statement and stance is in direct response to the public outcry against these kinds of materials in their children’s classrooms.

Despite these efforts parents said they still had concerns at a WCSD board of trustees meeting held Tuesday, August 10.

The trustees listened respectfully to all of the comments.

”I stand against teaching our children that we are a racist Nation. If this is true why do so many people want to come here?” said one parent to the trustees during a public comment period.

There were no comments in favor of using terms like “white privilege” or “social justice” in the classroom, but the State School Board has mandated topics like “social justice” be covered in classrooms.

“Social justice is a content strand in our social studies Nevada Academic content standards. So it talks about how the students get involved in their community to make it better. So maybe it’s a fundraising drive to help a student in need or recycling program or something like that,” said Deputy Superintendent Debra Biersdoff.

KOLO 8 Evening Anchor Noah Bond asked her if terms like “white privilege” will be taught in the classroom.

Biersdoff responded, “I’m going to guess that’s going to come under something that might be divisive.”

The task force you can apply for is called “The Superintendent’s Task Force on Supplementary Materials”.

It will include five individuals representing parents/guardians for elementary school children in each of the five trustee districts, two students, and four community members.

Parents expressed concerns the board of trustees would choose people who share similar beliefs.

”Who is going to proctor and lead the task force and how do we ensure that they don’t come to the table with conflicts of interest or bias?” asked Mindy Lilyquist, who has children in the WCSD.

You have until Friday, August 27 at 5:00 p.m. to apply.

Click here to apply for a position on the Superintendent’s task force.

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