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PHM district hosts critical race theory discussions

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The Penn Harris Madison School Corporation has agreed to re-evaluate lessons in diversity, equity, and inclusion taught at the high school.

Some parents and patrons complained that some of the lessons carried overtones of critical race theory.

Word of the re-evaluation came today at the first of three scheduled meetings on the subject of social emotional learning (S.E.L.).

About 70-parents and patrons heard that the lessons in question were developed after former Penn students wrote an open letter saying people of color had not been supported or treated fairly.

“The goals of Penn High School S.E.L. and D.E.I. combined lessons were to make all students feel valued and significant. We wanted to promote kindness, compassion, and empathy,” PHM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Derrick White told the crowd.

White said the lessons were only taught one day per week at the high school level, about 30-minutes at a time.

The lessons covered topics including racism, anti-racism, microaggression, and implied bias. The administration today vowed to re-evaluate the curriculum and post materials online in advance to parents can preview what was about to be discussed in class. " After reviewing the lessons, if you still have concerns or questions, please feel free to contact your building principal. If you are interested in opting out of S.E.L. lessons dafter reviewing the lessons, we’ll work with you and create a plan,” said Derrick White.

Two more meetings are on tap for Tuesday: The first is at 8:30 a.m., the second is at 7:00 p.m. Both meeting will take place at Penn High School.

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