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Virginia Beach School Board votes down 'Resolution to Clarify Equity Training and Teaching'

Dozens of parents spoke at the school board meeting both in favor of, and against the policy.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Beach School Board gathered Tuesday night to discuss a proposed resolution that would ban certain forms of teachings about race, racism, and the history around those topics. 

The school board voted not to adopt the "Resolution to Clarify Equity Training and Teaching" which includes guidelines and rules for what teachers can and cannot teach in Virginia Beach classrooms. 

The decision came in a 7-4 vote. 

The proposed guidelines and rules would prevent teachers from training, teaching, or promotion the following:

  • That any race is inherently superior or inferior to any other race 
  • That any individual by virtue of his or her race or skin color is inherently racist, privileged or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously. 
  • That any individual, by virtue of his or her race or skin color bears responsibility for the actions committed by other members of his or her race, skin color or religion. 
  • An individual’s moral character or worth is determined by his or her race or skin color. 
  • That the United States is a fundamentally and inherently racist country 
  • That capitalism is racist. 

Prior to the meeting, the Virginia Beach superintendent spoke with 13News Now about the proposal.

"On the surface of it somebody might say that does provide clarity, but I do think that it can create problems where we are unable to study America’s troubling racial issues of the past and today," said Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence. "There isn’t anyone I’ve talked to that says racism doesn’t exist in America."

The resolution was initially introduced last year and it initially included a section to ban the "training, teaching or promoting" of "Critical Race Theory" to students and employees.

The current policy proposal no longer includes the phrase "Critical Race Theory," although most of the other details remain the same.

Dozens of parents gathered at the meeting Tuesday night to express their support, or disapproval, of the policy. Each parent had three minutes to speak, under the board's new rules. 

Of the 33 passionate parents and students who spoke on the topic, 21 of them said they wanted the resolution to pass.

"Parents have a fundamental right to be concerned about the content in the curriculum," Carol Kinsey told the school board.

"I am neither a domestic terrorist, nor am I an extremist. I am just a fed-up mom who is tired of the hypocrisy, lying and racist teaching in the Virginia Beach school city public schools," said parent Amy Solares.

But others, including a Virginia Beach student, say if those certain teachings are banned, students will not get the full scope of history.

"Future generations of students deserve to learn the truth about the history of America," said Giana Lathan.

"History is not pretty. When taught in its entirety, it is not pleasant," said Susan Hippen. "The current diversity policy is clear and should not be changed."

Carolyn Weems, who introduced the resolution, said she wants parents to understand that she and the rest of the board value diversity.

However, school board member Kimberly Melnyk says she’s concerned about what this policy would mean for students.

"Imagine having to say to a student, 'I’m sorry we can’t talk about that. I'm sorry that's important to you, but we can't talk about that,'" she said. "Now you have to shut down conversations in the classroom."

In the end, the resolution failed 7-4.