Clearmont school board to vote on CRT

Dennis Mansfield, The Sheridan Press via Wyoming News Exchange
Posted 8/13/21

Members of the Sheridan County School District 3 Board of Trustees took another step forward in voicing their opposition to Critical Race Theory, or CRT, being taught in local classrooms.

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Clearmont school board to vote on CRT


SHERIDAN — Members of the Sheridan County School District 3 Board of Trustees took another step forward in voicing their opposition to Critical Race Theory, or CRT, being taught in local classrooms.

Board members discussed a pair of resolutions opposing CRT at a workshop session Wednesday, though no action was taken at the regular monthly meeting held later in the evening.

Trustee Trinity Lewis introduced the resolutions stating SCSD3 will not implement lesson plans related to CRT or the 1619 Project “under that name or any other name.”

Proposed language included in the resolutions also states, “Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project go outside of the guidelines established in the SCSD3 mission and vision by diminishing opportunities for some students over others based on ethnicity and bias, thus potentially inhibiting the future of all those under its tutelage.”

While she doesn’t see any movement at the state level to move to adopt or include CRT in curriculum models, Lewis said she still believes it’s a positive step to protect the integrity of local classrooms to approve the resolutions, one of which would be a statement by the SCSD3 board and the other, which would be forwarded to the Wyoming School Boards Association for consideration at its upcoming meeting in Casper in mid-November.

“I’ve had a lot of people coming up and asking me about (the resolutions),” Lewis said. “I’m not surprised. It’s been on the radar nationally for sometime.

“Now, (CRT) is a more coercive effort with a title on it,” she added. “I think we need to be cognizant it could raise its head in Wyoming and be aware of that.”

Lewis also said she’s received several letters and messages supporting her efforts since first proposing the resolutions at the school board’s regular meeting in July, including notes from state lawmakers Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, and Rep. Chip Neiman, R-Hulett, as well as school board members from Crook and Goshen counties.

At Wednesday night’s workshop, Lewis also received the unanimous support of her fellow SCSD3 board members.

Wade Betz, board clerk, said he finds the subject of CRT upsetting because it teaches children to look at other students and judge them on physical differences.

“It’s wrong. There’s nothing right about it,” Betz said. “It’s divisive. It’s racist.”

He added he believes CRT runs contrary to Dr. Martin Luther King’s belief people should be judged based on their character, not the color of their skin.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “Oppose it, oppose it, oppose it. Oppose it now, because they want it to be part of the curriculum.”

In supporting the resolutions, SCSD3 board Treasurer Chris Schock said he sees no reason why the school district would want CRT or its tenets taught in local classrooms.

“It doesn’t make sense at all,” he said.

Amy Vineyard, chair of the local school board, said she would also vote in support of the resolutions, as she has yet to hear from anyone in favor of CRT.

“I don’t agree with a lot of it,” she said. “(But) I haven’t heard from anyone who agrees with it. It’s nice to hear from both sides.”

While in favor of the resolutions, SCSD3 board members did not move to include the two statements as action items for the regular meeting held later in the evening.

Interim Superintendent Boyd Brown said delaying the vote would provide him time to make sure the resolutions were properly formatted and allow all board members to be included in the discussion, as Vice Chair Misty Moore was absent from Wednesday’s meetings.

“I don’t want to feel that I’m forcing you into a motion in one night,” Brown said.

Board members agreed to hold a possible vote on the resolutions at their next monthly meeting Sept. 8.