Angry Hamilton County School Board Member Wants the Public to See Teacher Training Sessions After White Privilege Reveal


The Hamilton County School System ought to have a policy requiring that any professional development or in-service teacher training get recorded on video and posted online for all the public to see.

Otherwise a lot of people in the county are going to express their displeasure with the school system — and in a major way.

This, according to school board member Rhonda Thurman, who told The Tennessee Star this week the taxpayers are entitled see how school administrators use their money.

Especially after people found out the school system made teachers attend an Adverse Childhood Experiences program, some of which included training on the topic of white privilege.

“And if no one has a problem with this then we’ll see if no one has a problem with this. I guarantee a lot of people in this county care (about the white privilege training), and you can’t just say ‘Oh, it’s no big deal.’ But it is a big deal,” Thurman said.

“I tell you what, there are a lot of white teachers right now teaching in these predominantly black schools that now know exactly how some of the students feel about them and how some of the adults feel about them and it’s OK. But it’s not OK with me, and it shouldn’t be OK with anybody.”

As reported, most school board members seem happy with the curriculum and are unlikely to hold the people who introduced it accountable to the taxpayers.

Yet three of the eight remaining school board members told The Star Thursday they are fine with members of the public having access to what teachers learn during their professional development or in-service teacher training sessions.

Board Chairman Joe Wingate, along with fellow board members Joe Smith and Kathy Lennon, said school system officials should make the material available for public review.

“I have always supported full transparency because that is what is best for our community,” Lennon said in an emailed statement.

“Having a digital video library of Professional Development for our teachers would definitely benefit our students and teachers across the district.  I support everything that will better serve our students.”

As reported, the Williamson County School System, under then-Superintendent Mike Looney, had teachers take similar white privilege training sessions. Looney, however, used a series of videos to impart these lessons, and he had school system employees produce these videos,  exclusively for Williamson County teachers.

Angry parents called Looney out on it at a gathering in March.

Looney’s response — “the video was not meant for you, and you (the public) should not have seen the video, in my opinion.”

Looney, now the superintendent of schools in Fulton County, Georgia, did not return The Star’s request for comment Thursday regarding Thurman’s call for greater transparency in these matters.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

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6 Thoughts to “Angry Hamilton County School Board Member Wants the Public to See Teacher Training Sessions After White Privilege Reveal”

  1. Champ

    Hamilton County has one of the most segregated school districts in the region. It’s important for educators to talk about how that segregation can affect educational opportunities and how we can bring a more leveled playing field into our classrooms. This type of conversation can only strengthen our community.

  2. Dwayne Oxford

    God divvied out “privilege” in Genesis 9. Going against Him is futile. Anything “of God” is open and above board and vs. vs.

  3. Tony Thomas

    Hahahaha that’s hilarious! This woman will do anything to get attention from the public. Always has.

  4. Barbara Allen

    What a great idea to give access to the public of this training. They paid for it and it could only help.

  5. mike slaney

    And…they want more money…for what? Agenda bending, come on people, it’s a dead duck in a Cobra’s belly…Just say NO…we won’t go!

  6. Habu

    It would be nice to know what kind of garbage the school administrators are preaching now. The term “white privilege” is derogatory and continues the divisive rhetoric by certain political parties. Just another attempt to shame people because of their skin color. Disgusting!