Indiana School District Uses Chauvin Verdict to Push Antiracism on Students

School officials claim racism is 'embedded in the fabric' of America

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April 23, 2021

A public school district outside Indianapolis claimed racial division is "embedded in the fabric" of the United States and endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s conviction.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools officials on Tuesday emailed parents a document containing tips for coping with trauma and links to racial equity resources for children. The email was sent just hours after Chauvin, an ex-Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty of murdering George Floyd. Floyd’s death in May 2020 sparked months of anti-police protests across the country.

The email, which did not mention Floyd, claimed that all students "benefit from an anti-racism education." The district also condemned the American judicial system, which according to the email forces minority and white parents to "[prepare] their children for the two Americas."

"We commit to turning the mirror inward and advancing an anti-racist and equity-based learning community," the district affirmed in the email, a copy of which was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. 

The district’s equity website touts a lengthy reading list that includes work from antiracist scholar Ibram X. Kendi. The website offers a series of videos and articles on antiracism, including a piece that outlined white women’s "role in racial (in)justice." Hamilton Southeastern has equity coaches in each school, according to the website.

Schools across the United States capitalized on Floyd’s death to implement antiracist practices in the classroom. State education boards in North Carolina and Illinois in February adopted radical learning standards, the latter of which asks teachers to "mitigate" their "unearned privilege."

The radical push reached the federal level this week, as the Biden administration on Monday proposed a rule that would dole out Education Department grant money to education groups that develop antiracist American history and civics curriculum.

Ben Orr, a volunteer for a recently launched Hamilton County parent group called Fishers One, told the Free Beacon that he was troubled by the email’s politically charged tone.

"I’m concerned about the letter sent out specifically affirming political activism groups and critical race theory," Orr said.

Orr attended a Hamilton Southeastern school board meeting earlier this week after searching through the antiracism and critical race theory-based resources the district offers on its website. Orr says these materials are "reprehensible" to promote and offer to children.

"I went to the board meeting because on the school’s website right now, there are links to ‘white women’s role in (in)justice,’ which explains their ‘complicity in racism’; the [New York Times’] 1619 Project telling children that the U.S. was founded as a ‘slavocracy’; and references to works by Ibram X. Kendi who said ‘anti-racism means anti-white.’" Orr said. "I find these reprehensible for anyone to affirm, let alone educators of young children."

Critical race theory teaches that American economic and political systems are inherently racist—an ideology that Fishers One said is divisive.

"Critical race theory divides students and communities by focusing on our differences instead of what unites us as Americans, Hoosiers and members of the Fishers community," the statement reads. "Fishers One believes that CRT and associated programming is tearing at the fabric of our community and it’s doing nothing to rebuild the academic standards we have lost over the last few years."