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A school board in Florida revised language in its “equity statement” after facing backlash from parents who said it contained divisive language, including the term “White advantage.”
A portion of the Palm Beach County school board’s equity statement, enacted in May, stated that the school district was “committed to dismantling structures rooted in [W]hite advantage.”
The statement received weeks of heavy backlash from hundreds of parents, and board member Karen Brill proposed nixing the term last week as a result. On Wednesday, the board voted in a split 4-3 decision to change the language, the Palm Beach Post reported.
The Wednesday meeting lasted over four hours and engaged over 70 parents and community leaders in robust debate regarding the language.
Parent and education activist Meagan Bell said at the meeting that addressing “White advantage is good for all of our students, even our White students,” but was retorted by another parent.
“My children will never be taught to be ashamed of or apologize for who they are because of their skin color,” parent Cindy Eldred said.
Many attendees expressed their concerns that the term was an attempt to push Marxism and critical race theory on students.
The term was removed after the vote. A separate section of the equity statement stating that the school district was committed to “redistributing resources to provide equitable outcomes” was changed as well.
“Redistributing” in the sentence was changed to “distributing.”
“We can clearly see after today’s meeting: if we don’t do something to take away the words that caused all this distrust, we’re not going to be able to go forward,” school board chairman Frank Barbieri said.
Brill said that the language used was “polarizing” and “dividing the community.:
“Those are the words that are a trigger, and I want this community to embrace the work that we are doing,” she said.
Brill also said during the meeting that the words used in the equity statement “have to be words people understand.”
Board members Alexandria Ayala, Debra Robinson and Erica Whitfield voted in opposition to removing the term “White advantage” from the school district’s equity statement.
“We can’t back up when we have some little resistance right out of the gate,” Ayala said. “We have to do the hard work now of committing to what we said, to what we all agreed to.”
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