Williamson County School Board members voted unanimously this month to hire a firm to help stamp out what they said was a pattern of racism within the school district.
This, even though parents told board members that they researched school disciplinary records and, going by that, racism was not as rampant as suggested. Those parents also said this move falls well beyond a school system’s primary function and might indoctrinate students politically.
School board members will pay Fostering Healthy Solutions $55,000 for a contract that ends in July. School board members have the option to renew the contract afterwards for the 2021-222 school year, according to the document.
On their Facebook page, Fostering Healthy Solutions staff members recently congratulated U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for winning last year’s presidential election.
In an email, Fostering Healthy Solutions co-founder Anita Foster told The Tennessee Star that, as a business practice, she does not discuss clients.
Parents at a Williamson County School Board meeting last week said schools should focus only on reading, writing, math, science and history.
“Items that fall outside of that primary purpose should be left to families,” said Brentwood resident Lynn Holcombe.
“That includes teaching or indoctrinating students into any political position.”
Josh Spradlin, also of Brentwood, said he filed a public records request with the school system last month and, according to his research, “racism is not and has not been an overriding issue in our schools.”
“For the last two school years there were 108 and 159 reported cases of harassment. Intimidation, bullying, or cyber-bullying investigations indicated that bullying occurred. There were 12 investigations involving race in one year and 24 in the next. An average of 13 percent of the total harassment cases were racism-related. Let’s put that into perspective,” Spradlin said.
“There are 40,000 students in WCS. There are 177 instructional days. If you do the math that means there are just over 7 million student days for incident opportunities. [Exactly] 1 percent of 7 million would be 70,000 incidents. WCS is at an average of 18 incidents per year, which is .00026 percent rounded up to the closest 100,000. Congratulations WCS. You don’t have a macro-racism issue. You have isolated incidents. You are handling it quite well.”
As The Star reported last month, WCS Superintendent Jason Golden said the school district needed “a comprehensive plan” to address racism.
As reported two years ago, WCS officials required teachers to watch a series of videos showing county school employees advocating for social change and social justice. The “White privilege” training videos, as part of a Cultural Competency video series, showcased local teachers buying into the idea of “White privilege.”
School board members said at the time that news of this curriculum caught them off-guard. The Star talked to various parents that year who said they feared speaking out against the “White privilege” training, due to a possible backlash against them either personally or professionally.
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