Editor’s note: this is the second in a series of stories trying to address issues related to education.
A group of more than 400 local Facebook users is discussing local education and what students are taught in Brian County. The Forward Coalition sent out a press release Monday, saying in an email that “we strongly oppose the spread of any untruth in our community.”
Continued: “Recent actions aimed at disrupting Education Council meetings and sowing misinformation about Brian County school programs have pushed the coalition forward along with a group of like-minded parents, grandparents and former teachers to set up a School Action Committee,” the statement said.
“The Forward Coalition and its School Action Committee stand in solidarity with our Board of Education, school administrations and teachers in reaffirming the right of every child to feel safe, valued and desired in Bryan County School District, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation , disability and gender expression ”.
Forward Coalition founder and president Adrienne Jackson said the group is made up of “diverse residents, community members, business owners and professionals across Brian County.” She said the mission of the Forward Coalition is a grassroots effort to “raise, mobilize and unite black, indigenous, colorful and marginalized communities in rural and suburban areas of Brian County. We believe in creating the community we want and need through leadership, civic activism, political participation, partnership with communities and advocacy. ”
The curriculum in Brian County schools has become a central focus recently. The creation of a local branch of the Atlanta-based Truth in Education, an advocacy group “founded to teach parents and lawmakers the radical ideologies taught in our schools,” sparked debate on social media and spurred Tamara Huff, a Richmond resident. Hill of the parents of three children to form the School Action Committee.
Huff, an engineer, is a member of Waterfront Church, where she went on Jan. 31 to see a film called “Mind Pollutants,” which features TIE.
“I wanted to see what was going on,” said Huff, who added that she left the meeting alone.
“I was concerned that they equated full sex education with preparing children for sexual violence, but comprehensive sex education is not part of Georgia standards and is not taught in Brian County schools. Many of the things they focused on are not taught in Brian County. ”
Huff said much of the local group’s energy seems to have focused on trying to remove books from school libraries when they included LBGTQ content, and on blocking the teaching of critical race theory in Brian County schools – something that school officials say does not happen.
Huff also said her experience working with teachers and administrators contradicts what TIE members have described.
“They said they want to be able to go to school and watch what is being taught, they said teachers are no longer advising parents,” Huff said. “I noted that this is not true. I managed to meet any of my children’s teachers when I asked. I have never been denied this opportunity, even the last two years with COVID. “
According to the Forward Coalition, the Student Action Committee “will work with our local board of education to ensure that our schools do not censor learning opportunities, but instead promote diversity, equity and inclusion for all students,” a Forward press release said. Action. .
“We work with our school administrators and teachers to base curriculum decisions on facts rather than insinuations or personal agendas, and support their flexibility in always working with parents and students to meet a wide range of special needs and requests.” The liberation continued; “We strongly condemn attempts to bring misinformation, untruths and political programs into our classes. Brian County offers a rich learning environment for its students, and the School Action Committee is ready to respond to attempts and demands to ignore historical facts and truth in favor of personal judgment. ”
Local principals of Truth In Education, Betsy DeBry and Lisa Freeman, criticized the mask policy in Brian County schools and questioned the curriculum taught locally.
They have letters to the editor in today’s Bryan County News.