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Fiery debate at Manitowoc school board meeting over critical race theory

Several people accused board members of operating in secret
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT
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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - Tuesday night’s school board meeting in Manitowoc turned contentious when several people accused the district of secretly teaching critical race theory.

Others spoke in defense of the Manitowoc School Board, saying it needs to be more inclusive.

The school board met at the auditorium of Lincoln High School at 7 p.m. and a rally was held an hour before the meeting started by parents and citizens who said they support equity and diversity .

“It hurts me because I graduated from this school and I was the only African American in this school and I dealt with these same issues that are being addressed today,” Amirah Franzen, who has three children enrolled in the district, said.

Once the meeting got underway, some speakers condemned the board for operating in secret and alleging they’re communists.

Those same individuals claimed the district is injecting critical race theory into the curriculum without providing concrete evidence. Instead, they pointed to the Manitowoc School District hiring a Milwaukee-based consultant to train teachers on racial bias and equity.

“Equity meaning the same outcome for all people, sounds great but we are worried that it’s going to lower the bar,” Gene Weyer said. He spoke in opposition to the school board’s actions, and told Action 2 News he doesn’t have any children currently enrolled in the district.

There were also people who spoke during the meeting in support of Manitowoc’s superintendent and the board.

Neither critical race theory nor changing the curriculum was on the board’s agenda Tuesday night. Still, that didn’t stop people from speaking on the matter.

According to an article in Education Week, Critical race theory is an academic concept with a core idea that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but embedded in legal systems and policies.

There were others who called for a mask mandate in the district this fall due to rising Covid-19 cases in the community, and those who spoke against such actions.

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