Virginia's largest school district is on the defensive after it was caught forcing children to participate in a game of "privilege bingo" that singled out kids for characteristics involving their race and family life.
Students at Fairfax County's Oakton High School were asked to self-identify their privilege for an exercise that the district says "was intended to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences while building their critical thinking skills." The bingo card contained squares based on race, identity, socioeconomic status, and family life and included categories such as "white," "military kid," "parents are married," "mentally healthy," "cisgender," "have your own bedroom," "Christian," and "able-bodied."
This is over the top – time for FCPS to get away from identity politics and back to teaching our kids. pic.twitter.com/WtB2DLuhgH
— Supervisor Pat Herrity (@PatHerrity) January 19, 2022
The district initially defended the lesson plan. Assistant Superintendent Douglas A. Tyson said that the card came from an approved Fairfax County Public Schools English curriculum lesson and was "an adept vehicle to push student thinking to challenge [an] author's thoughts/conclusions and to sharpen their ability to critically read selected texts."
After backlash from military families who viewed the lesson as a baseless attack, the district backtracked and said the activity would be "revised."
Fairfax County Public School District "recognizes and honors the experiences of all our families, including those in service to our country in the military," a district spokeswoman told The Federalist. "We have revised this activity. We apologize for any offense it may have unintentionally caused."
Hundreds of military family members commute to the Pentagon from Fairfax County, which is just 20 minutes away from the military hub. Annual salaries for teachers in the school district range from $51,000 to $119,117, depending on experience level. The starting yearly salary for an enlisted member of the military is $20,340, while starting pay for a commissioned officer is just $41,724.
Virginia Republican governor Glenn Youngkin gained traction during last year's campaign for his strong stance against political indoctrination in public education. In one of his first actions as governor, Youngkin signed an executive order for schools to "end the use of inherently divisive concepts" in classrooms.
"Inherently divisive concepts, like Critical Race Theory and its progeny, instruct students to only view life through the lens of race and presume that some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that other students are victims," the executive order said.