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Birmingham schools respond to state efforts around critical race theory

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 11:10 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham school board member is urging the community to fights efforts by the state that could restrict the way race and racism are discussed in the districts’ classrooms.

Board member Terri Michal said she’s crafted the Equality Proclamation, which was approved by the Birmingham School Board last week, from similar school district resolutions around the country. She added that the board was responding to last summer’s state school board resolution banning critical race theory. The state board voted to make this an actual state policy on Thursday with new language referring to “intellectual freedom.”

“The language (of the state policy) I feel is dangerous,” says Michal. “I feel like this has taken us back to the, to the fifties.”

Michal said she thinks Birmingham teachers should continue to teach as they have and not be restricted by the state.

“Our teachers are going to need to be free to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement, about George Floyd’s death, that’s history,” says Michal.

Critical race theory is a law school concept for examining the historic structural role of race in society. It is typically not taught in K-12 schools.

Michal, who is leaving the school board after losing re-election, said there may already be pre-filed bills in the legislature that seek to strengthen the state’s ban and she is calling the community to prepare to fight them if they make their way through the legislative process.

“This isn’t about making anyone hate anyone or make anyone apologize...and this isn’t about the experience of white people” says Michal. “This is about the history of our black community and our brown community, our LGBT community”

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