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Hudson parents voice concern over district's diversity, equity and inclusion program

Hudson High School
Posted at 6:28 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 19:18:59-04

HUDSON, Ohio — The need to foster a diverse and inclusive environment in Hudson City School is a need Dexter and Diane James can attest to.

“There have been some issues on the bus where my children felt uncomfortable,” Diane said. “Some things were said on the bus, specifically what got back to me was ‘this is a white boys' bus.’”

The James’ have two middle school students in the district.

Officials said that 85% of students in the district identify as white.

“All it takes is a call to one of the teachers or a call to the principle and they immediately address it,” said Diane. “[The district’s] commitment to diversity and inclusion has been obvious since we moved into Hudson.”

District administration has taken their commitment a step further, forming a diversity, equity and inclusion task force.

Students are also learning concepts of cultural proficiency, equity and diversity but leaders clarify they are not teaching the highly controversial Critical Race Theory.

Many parents are not happy about their children being taught these concepts in the classroom and voiced their concerns about it during this week’s Hudson School Board meeting.

“I heard the teacher read a story about diversity and then proceeded to tell the entire class that they have white privilege,” said one parent during the meeting. “To tell a fifth grader that they have white privilege is very unheard of.”

“Your job is to teach math, reading, English and history. Don’t indoctrinate these children,” said parent Jeff Tauring. “You want to know how get privilege, you work hard.”

The Hudson School District sent News 5 Cleveland the following statement:

Over the course of this year, we have shared regular updates at our Board of Education meetings about our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts in the school district.
The goal of our work is that every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or socio-economic status is a welcomed, loved, valued member of our school community. It is a journey toward cultural proficiency--knowing how to learn from and about one another, and how to appreciate and interact with those who are dissimilar to ourselves.
Recently, many local, state, and national conversations, including recent public comments at our Board of Education meeting on May 10, 2021, are focusing on Critical Race Theory and The 1619 Project being taught in our schools. It is not part of our curriculum and neither has been adopted by the Hudson Board of Education, recommended as part of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, or by our Cultural Proficiency Advisory Committee, and it is not a component of the Ohio Learning Standards for Social Studies.
However, it is our job as a district, to ensure that our policies, practices, and day-to-day interactions with students provide an environment where students are comfortable being who they are. This is essential for limiting barriers to student learning, and is critical when preparing students to compete, contribute, and thrive in a rapidly-changing, complex, interconnected, and globally diverse world.
As with all adopted curriculum in our District, we base what we teach on Ohio Learning Standards that are developed by Ohio educators, with key stakeholders, and approved by the Ohio Legislature.
We strive to keep our parents and community involved in providing feedback, reviewing, and learning about our curriculum content and materials. In addition, our curriculum materials are evidence centered and research based. When new materials are considered for adoption, teacher teams are established to objectively review materials and provide feedback. Community feedback is also sought for textbook adoptions every February.

“I think if people of goodwill really want our city to be inclusive, you have to teach it to our children,”said Dexter. “Some folks at the adult level don’t want to hear it. It’s not important to them if it doesn’t happen to them, if it doesn’t affect them negatively, they don’t want to talk about it.”

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