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Tony Perkins / May 7, 2021

Parents Drown CRT in Southlake

We’ve all got a city council. And together, we can do a lot to push back.

Lots of people are looking for unity in this country. Well, one Texas town found it — fighting the extreme curriculum Joe Biden wants to bring to every town nationwide. Turns out, the fastest way to bring people together is to try to radicalize education. It’s also, Southlake parents say, the surest way to lose.

Hannah Smith didn’t really have running for the school board on her radar. That all changed last year, when the district started floating the idea of a new Critical Race Theory curriculum — and not just any curriculum, but the most “extreme K-12 program” surveyed by nonprofit groups. “And that’s really saying something,” Hannah said on “Washington Watch,” considering all of the woke education out there. Together with other parents, Smith, a religious freedom attorney, started investigating, even filing Freedom of Information Acts to find out what the district was doing.

What they found shocked them. The Cultural Competence Action Plan, as the proposal is called, was a 34-page manifesto on Critical Race Theory. The whole idea, Hannah explained, was tracking and punishing “microaggression,” the Leftist buzz word that says any form of discrimination is in the eye of the beholder. Worse, she said, “they included a really invasive teacher training based on critical race theory. They also wanted to include a metric in job performance reviews for teachers that would rate them based on their level of cultural competence as to whether or not they could keep their job. They wanted to do student club audits where they would review all of these student clubs on campus, including the religious ones and rate whether or not they were culturally competent. And if they weren’t, then they would not be able to stay on campus, most likely…”

The more they read, the more disturbed Southlake parents were. Obviously, she said, no one thinks children should be exposed to racism, harassment, bullying, or any sort of persecution. That’s not acceptable. But “we also weren’t on board with a plan that adopted this kind of philosophical approach to teaching our kids that the color of their skin is really all that matters.” So, the tight-knit community banded together — pushing back in school board meetings and public comments. Then, when two seats on the board opened up, Hannah and another parent decided: they’d run.

To them, one of Southlake’s greatest assets is its award-winning schools. And the idea that any program could threaten that was just unacceptable. Local families agreed, even going so far as to form a PAC to fight back. By February and March, the campaign started making national news. When the election came around, the response was overwhelming. Framing it as a referendum on divisive policies versus Texas values, voters poured into polling stations — and an election that would have normally attracted 3,000 brought in three times that. Hannah, another school board candidate, three other conservatives running for city council and mayor all won in a landslide.

After 2020, Hannah pointed out, “and particularly the things that were happening in our school district, I think a lot of our community thought: we’ve been asleep. We haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in our schools. And I think a lot of this actually has to do with the coronavirus as well, because with all the kids that were home at school in quarantine this last this last year, parents were much more involved in the education of their kids. They were seeing on their children’s laptops and computer screens what was going on in the classroom. And for some of them, it was the first time they had really clued in to what the teachers were teaching and what was happening online.” Plenty of them were horrified by all of the Leftist garbage infiltrating even good schools like Southlake’s. “That, coupled with the Biden administration’s radical policies… [helped people] really wake up and take control.”

But the victory wasn’t just for Southlake. The victory was for parents everywhere, who are looking for ways to fight back. Let this Texas town, Dana Loesch urged, be the model. “First step: understand what and who you’re fighting… Second step: gather numbers… Third step: organize… Fourth step: demand answers… Fifth step: outreach… Narrow wins against critical race theory in schools aren’t good enough; it must be resolutely defeated. But Southlake parents showed how to win a landslide condemnation against Marxism in our schools and communities.”

As more parents see what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and watch those outrageous policies trickle down to the local level, the important thing to remember is: we can make a difference. Moms and dads are the first line of defense between their children and what’s coming through the education system. We might not be able to change Congress right now, or our state legislatures. But we’ve all got a school board. We’ve all got a city council. And together, we can do a lot to push back. Take it from Hannah and the parents of Southlake — anything is possible!

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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