State Denies Complaint Of Critical Race Theory In Blount County Schools

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

The state denied a complaint it received last school year regarding the teaching of critical race theory in Tennessee public schools.

Legislators passed a bill in 2021 that banned local school systems from teaching “prohibited concepts.” While the law does not come right out and specifically ban “critical race theory,” it does provide some guidelines as to what can be discussed regarding race and gender in public schools.

The new law also set in place a process by which parents could file a complaint against curriculum. That complaint was initially to be filed with the school system and then could be appealed to the state if the issue was not resolved. 

According to records, one challenge was filed by a parent against Blount County Schools in February. The complaint was in regards to the book Dragonwings by Laurence Yep. The novel is about Chinese families who immigrated to California.

David Coleman, the parent who filed the complaint said that the book promoted racism and anti-Americanism, stating, “From cover to cover, this author refers to Americans as demons, including statements like ‘white demon,’ ‘demon land,’ and ‘the American devil means harm.”

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The complaint also says the book includes profanity, violence, drug use, and depictions of prostitution. 

Coleman, who is a member of the Blount County Smoky Mountain Parents Involved in Education, said, “We need to be assigning books that address the evil of racism while not being intentionally divisive with our words…we should not avoid discussing the racism of our nation’s past, it is important that we learn from our past, but this book has the wrong approach.”

While the book was removed from Union Grove Middle School, it was kept in the other middle schools in Blount County. In April, the school district made the decision that the complaint was “not substantiated.” 

Amanda Vance, supervisor of elementary instruction and district communication for BCS, said, “Blount County Schools teaches Tennessee state standards. Our curriculum containing high quality instructional materials has been approved by the Tennessee Department of Education.”

The complaint was appealed to the state, where it was once again denied after an investigation.

“The Department received an appeal alleging that the book Dragonwings and the related instructional materials violated Tenn. Code. Ann. 49-6-1019(a),” said Victoria Robinson, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Education. “Based on the Department’s investigation and the facts specific to the appeal, the Department determined that Blount County Schools did not violate the law.”

Since that decision, the district has made excerpts from the book optional for sixth graders instead of making it required reading, according to The Daily Times.

In a press conference, Governor Lee stated, “Critical race theory is un-American. It fundamentally puts groups of people above the sanctity of the individual, which is a founding principle of this nation.”

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

3 thoughts on “State Denies Complaint Of Critical Race Theory In Blount County Schools

  • August 16, 2022 at 8:48 pm
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    Nothing is ever “substantiated” if it doesn’t fit the agendas of the powers that be.

    Reply
  • August 17, 2022 at 3:40 pm
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    Blount county sure must be a nice place to live. First the the “family friendly ” pride festival and then teaching kids “crt”. Wasn’t a high school teacher involved with the “family friendly” pride festival? Just asking. Maybe Blount county should take a look at their morals and ethics. It seems to be missing.
    In God we trust not government or man.
    Have a blessed day.

    Reply
  • August 19, 2022 at 2:53 pm
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    So where is Penny S. Tn Edu Commissioner On all this?
    Out of town, she always seems to be elsewhere

    Reply

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