School district policy prohibits teaching ‘dividing concepts’

BECKER, Minn. (AP) — A central Minnesota school district is clashing with the teachers union and LGBTQ allies over a proposed policy that opponents say undermines equity and inclusion.

Becker’s three-member school board proposal bans “political indoctrination or the teaching of inherently divisive concepts” in district schools.

Opponents of the policy say the district is trying to stifle free speech, crack down on LGBTQ students and advocates, and ban accurate teaching of history and other subjects. And a few groups are threatening to sue the district if the policy is implemented, the Star Tribune reported.

This is just the latest in a list of polarizing issues that have surfaced in classrooms across the country, including displaying pride flags, teaching critical race theory and supporting students. marginalized.

“It’s, frankly, hard to know where to begin to address issues with this policy statement,” said Meg Luger-Nikolai, an attorney for state teachers’ union Education Minnesota, who noted that the ban personal bias could make the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance subject to discipline as it requires showing bias in favor of the United States and its flag.

A school district in Wisconsin recently reinterpreted an existing policy to include a ban on displaying gay pride flags in classrooms and including preferred pronouns in email signatures.

When the Kettle Moraine School District posted the policy on social media, it drew hundreds of opposing comments.

And in Florida earlier this year, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law new guidelines involving race-based discussions in schools as part of his campaign against critical race theory, which he called an ideology “ pernicious”. Legislation prohibits instructions that members of one race are inherently racist and that they should feel guilty for past actions of others of the same race or that a person’s status as privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his race.

In Minnesota’s Becker District, 75 miles northwest of Minneapolis, the proposed policy would dictate that “neither political indoctrination nor the teaching of inherently divisive concepts shall be permitted” and that classrooms must be exempt of any personal prejudice.

The school board had the first reading of the policy in July, but no member discussed it. The board’s policy committee plans to meet again after the proposal is reviewed by legal counsel, likely before the next board meeting on September 12.

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