Maryland school system tells students ‘systemic racism’ is a pandemic in ‘psychoeducational lessons’

DCNFKendall Tietz, DCNF

  • The most populous county in Maryland has implemented “psychoeducational lessons” that tell students there is a “dual pandemic” involving COVID-19 and “systemic racism,” according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch and first reported by Fox News Thursday. 
  • Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) promoted materials like “Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi in a PowerPoint obtained by Judicial Watch. It links to an audio reading of the book, which says “Babies are taught to be racist or antiracist, there’s no neutrality.”
  • “Systems of Oppression identifies inequity by calling attention to the historical and organized patterns of mistreatment” a glossary for secondary students read. “In the United States systems of oppression (like systemic racism) are woven into the very foundation of American culture, society, and laws.”

The most populous county in Maryland has implemented “psychoeducational lessons” that tell students there is a “dual pandemic” involving COVID-19 and “systemic racism,” according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch.

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) promoted materials like “Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi in a PowerPoint obtained by Judicial Watch. The PowerPoint links to an audio reading of the book, which says “Babies are taught to be racist or antiracist, there’s no neutrality.”

Teacher notes in the PowerPoint said the book “is the perfect gift for readers of all ages dedicated to forming a just society,” even babies and toddlers.

Fox News first reported on the Judicial Watch documents Thursday.

“This material details how extremist race politics and CRT are being used to target children for political ends,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement on the documents, Fox News reported. “Politics should immediately be removed from the curriculum of Montgomery County Schools. These CRT-laden teachings have no place in any American classroom.”

Critical Race Theory (CRT) holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.

Education was the forefront issue in Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s campaign and has been a frequent topic of debate among lawmakers and parents in recent months. Politicians and school officials have said CRT is not taught in American public schools. Parents and teachers have argued that while school systems might not teach CRT by name, other terms such as “cultural relevant teaching” or “social-emotional learning,” teach the same ideas.

Associate Superintendent Janet S. Wilson told MCPS principals that all schools in the district would “be required to implement a student psychoeducational lesson during one of the school’s mandatory Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) block [sic] before September 18, 2020,” according to an Aug. 26 email obtained by Judicial Watch. “This lesson will provide students crisis facts about the dual pandemic (COVID-19 and systemic racism) that is occurring around the country and here in Montgomery County.”

A scripted teacher response written for the “psychoeducational lesson” told students that they are “living through a dual pandemic with COVID-19 and the Systemic and Structural racism occurring worldwide,” according to a teacher training video obtained by Judicial Watch.

“Systems of Oppression identifies inequity by calling attention to the historical and organized patterns of mistreatment” a glossary for secondary students read. “In the United States systems of oppression (like systemic racism) are woven into the very foundation of American culture, society, and laws.”

Another “psychoeducational lesson” for 3rd to 5th grade students said “People in African American and Latinx communities have been more likely to get sick from COVID-19 because of how racism and unfairness impacts their lives,” according to the presentation obtained by Judicial Watch.

The slideshow said students “cannot opt out of the lessons,” but said parents can ask for “an alternative method… due to mental health concerns.”

Montgomery County Public Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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