Black Parent Compares Critical Race Theory to KKK Intimidation Tactics

Parents describe Virginia's Loudoun County as 'ground zero' in the fight against woke education

Shawntel Cooper (Ian Prior/Twitter)
May 12, 2021

A black mother slammed critical race theory at a school board meeting in the nation's richest county Tuesday, comparing the radical education standards to tactics used by Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan to demean black people.

"Critical race theory is not an honest dialogue, it is a tactic that was used by Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan on slavery very many years ago to dumb down my ancestors so we could not think for ourselves," Shawntel Cooper said at the Loudoun County School Board meeting Tuesday night. "Critical race theory is racist, it is abusive, it discriminates against one's color. … You can not tell me what is or is not racist."

A source close to Cooper told the Washington Free Beacon that the mother doesn't want to speak out nationally, citing fear of negative publicity. The Loudoun County School Board did not return a request for comment.

Parents of Loudoun County Public Schools students have rebelled against the district's efforts to adopt radical curriculum standards. One parent group launched a recall campaign against six of the Loudoun County School Board members in March. Other groups have tracked the school board's attempts to silence parents who oppose the district's recently adopted "culturally responsive" curriculum framework.

Cooper spoke during the comment section of a contentious school board meeting, where parents expressed concerns ranging from school reopening to critical race theory.

Several parents objected to the books included in the district's Diverse Book Collection, an initiative designed to expose students to authors of varying races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. A group of parents that included Elizabeth Perrin and Patti Menders read aloud passages from Monday's Not Coming, a sexually explicit novel assigned to students in an honors English class.

Menders read a section of the book that describes a girl being assaulted. She told the board members that if they felt uncomfortable listening, the book should not be offered to high school students.

"If this is inappropriate for me to read to you, this is inappropriate for our children," Menders said. "Get these dirty books out of our schools."

For kindergartners, the Diverse Book Collection offers My Princess Boy, which tells the story of a young boy who enjoys wearing dresses and playing with girls' toys. Juniors can read Whatever.: Or How Junior Year Became Totally F$@cked, which tells the tale of a teenager who faces an identity crisis after drunkenly kissing another male at a party.

Perrin told the Free Beacon that it should be parents, not schools, teaching morals and values to their children.

"Schools should not be imparting their belief structure on our children. That should be left to the parents to share their values, morals, and ethics in a family setting," Perrin said. "That is the most important. Those should be for the parents to impart to their children, not the school."

Tuesday's school board meeting was the latest flare up in a yearlong battle in Loudoun County. Parents have clashed over the district's decision to adopt a "culturally responsive" curriculum framework, which called on the school community to dismantle "white supremacy."

Tensions heightened this spring when a Facebook group that included six school board members launched an intimidation campaign against parents who spoke out in favor of opening schools or against the culturally responsive framework.

Perrin told the Free Beacon the group, Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County, targeted her for calling on district officials to reopen schools. Police are investigating an incident where strangers gathered outside of her home and took pictures.

Ian Prior, a parent who spoke at Tuesday's meeting, told the Free Beacon that opposition to the district's new curriculum hit a "critical mass" after the Anti-Racist Parents' campaign. Prior is one of several parents leading the recall campaign against the six board members who allegedly participated in the crusade against anti-critical theory parents. The petition has received more than 1,500 signatures so far.

"This school board, the administration, and the Facebook mob ... put Loudoun County as ground zero in a national fight against critical race theory," Prior said at the meeting. "Every single one of these parents would step in front of a train for their kids, and they will step in front of you too."

A diverse group of parents support the movement to counter Loudoun County school officials, Prior said.

"I really don't care if you're a Democrat, Independent, Republican, white, Asian, black, Hispanic. Everyone needs to be a part of this movement because our kids are bigger than any party, any socially constructed identity group," Prior told the Free Beacon. "If people want their kids to be free thinkers who are successful as adults, then this stuff needs to be torn out from the roots."

Loudoun County has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on critical race theory diversity training in recent years, according to documents reviewed by the Free Beacon. Superintendent Scott Ziegler in September proposed changing the district's employee code of conduct to ban teachers from speaking out against the district's new educational framework.