Critical race theory won’t be taught in Carbon County

Richard Hodges, Rawlins Times via Wyoming News Exchange
Posted 10/25/21

The Carbon County School District No. 2 Board of Education has passed a resolution that prevents the critical race theory concept from being taught in the district’s seven schools.

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Critical race theory won’t be taught in Carbon County


RAWLINS — The Carbon County School District  No. 2 Board of Education has passed a resolution that prevents the critical race theory concept from being taught in the district’s seven schools. 

A resolution was presented and passed unanimously at the board’s Oct. 18 meeting held in Hanna. This resolution states that district teachers and staff won’t promote the critical race theory ideology — or other similar ones. 

Critical race theory basically is a belief that racism is a fundamental part of American society and can’t be regulated by laws. 

Instead, the CCSD No. 2 board believes in promoting the principles and ideals of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and its amendments, according to the resolution. 

In response to after-meeting questions on the subject, Superintendent Jim Copeland said that while CRT is not in the state standards nor does the district actually include it in its required curriculum, “a proactive stance was requested.” 

Board member Joe Gaspari brought up the topic of developing a CRT resolution at a meeting in the late spring or early summer of this year, said Copeland. 

Retired Encampment teacher Bob Edwards came to the July board meeting and “encouraged the school board to pass a resolution prohibiting CCSD#2 teachers and staff from teaching/promoting critical race theory and further prohibiting the purchase of curriculum materials that do so in the future.”

The board then directed Copeland to work with Curriculum Director Noel Manning and any board member interested in a proposed resolution. Gaspari volunteered to help. This resolution was the culmination of discussions on the subject that have happened between board members and the public and at board meetings over the past several months to address community concerns over the idea which has, and continues to receive, wide national attention.

“We can’t ignore talking about a subject that is so prevailing in the culture today, specifically the critical race theory or any other similar ideologies that might come up,” Gaspari said. “However, we will not promote — and promote is to actually support or actively encourage (this subject). 

“But then we wanted to include what we would promote, to give everybody the idea of where we stand. That would be promoting, which would be encouraging and supporting, the principles and ideals that this country was founded upon as noted in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and its amendments.” 

Copeland joined the conversation and said, “We wanted to give the teachers the ability to answer a question, if it came up — what is critical race theory — asked by a student. So we used the word "promote" as opposed to not addressing it at all, because then they couldn’t answer any questions about that.” 

No parents or residents of Hanna or the neighboring towns attended the meeting. Only four members of the public attended, and they came from their homes on Brush Creek, some 60 miles to the south. 

Les Barkhurst and his son Byron and their wives came to express their concerns with the possibility that CRT would be getting into the district’s schools. Both men spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting before the resolution was read. 

The Barkhursts seemed satisfied with the resolution. 

In after-meeting comments Byron said, “Yes, I was pleased to hear that they wouldn’t be supporting it. It is always rewarding when our elected officials are truly interested in listening to and acting on behalf of their constituency. I was proud of the board.” 

The board then discussed the topic in some depth, with several members expressing concerns about it. 

The question was raised as to why it was presented as a resolution and not a policy. After a back and forth between the board lawyer Bill MacPherson and Superintendent Copeland and the members, it remained a resolution and passed unanimously. 

The topic of how the staff was to be informed of the new resolution and how it was to be enforced was discussed in some depth. It was decided that these tasks would be left to the principals of each of the district’s seven schools.