Parents in Tennessee are facing more challenges in the public education of their children in distance learning amid the coronavirus crisis.
One family pulled a second-grade student out of a school pushing social-justice curriculum while another school district in the state is requiring parents to sign off an agreement to not observe their children’s online classes which are being streamed in to the privacy of their own homes.
One father announced that he was pulling his daughter out of her second-grade class “immediately” after finding disturbing content in her Nashville classroom materials. T. Grant Benson, co-founder of the news website Breaking911, shared his findings on Twitter.
He also posted images from the “English” lesson in the book, which Twitter flagged as “potentially sensitive content.”
“This is NOT a civil rights lesson,” Benson wrote. “This is self-hate & fake white privilege.”
Benson’s tweets got plenty of attention online and he soon discussed what happened in an interview with 99.7 WTN in Nashville.
As Benson shared his story, over in another part of Tennessee, parents of students attending at Rutherford County Schools were asked to refrain from watching their child’s online classes, according to the Tennessee Star.
“RCS strives to present these opportunities in a secure format that protects student privacy to the greatest extent possible, however because these meetings will occur virtually RCS is limited in its ability to fully control certain factors such as non-student observers that may be present in the home of a student participating in the virtual meeting,” the form sent to parents read.
“RCS strongly discourages nonstudent observation of online meetings due to the potential of confidential information about a student being revealed,” it continued, directing parents to sign the form and warning that “violation of this agreement may result in RCS removing my child from the virtual meeting.”
Naturally, parents were upset at the directive which raised more questions about what the school district was trying to hide. Rutherford school district responded to the Star in an email.
“We are aware of the concern that has been raised about this distance-learning letter that was sent to parents. The intent was not to prevent parents from being involved with their children during distance learning, but it was intended to protect the academic privacy of other students in the classroom who are visible during certain virtual class sessions,” RCS spokesman James Evans said while not seeming to resolve the overall issue.
“We have issued new guidance to principals that parents can assist their children during virtual group lessons with permission of the instructor but should refrain from sharing or recording any information about other students in the classroom,” he added.
Many classrooms across the nation are seeing controversial social justice curriculum introduced, or increased, in the wake of the explosive rise in issues in the last few months, with riots, protests and civil unrest amid the global pandemic. Incorrect and altered American history is also being taught using products like the “1619 Project,” further driving home the need for parental involvement in their child’s education.
The controversial issues with the Tennessee schools came on the heels of backlash against the Tennessee Department of Education and the state for attempting to run “wellbeing” checks on students in their homes.
According to the Tennessee Star:
The Tennessee Department of Education says it released a toolkit on child wellbeing checks to ensure the needs of children are being met during and after extended periods away from school. It is promoted as protecting children.
The department earmarked $1 million in COVID-19 funds to set up regional overseers to work with districts, which are encouraged to apply.
Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles posted a Facebook message telling Gov. Bill Lee, “NO!!!”
“I will NOT stand for this, neither as your Mayor nor as a Father!” Ogles wrote.
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