Crestwood bans critical race theory in 3-2 vote, but the effect is symbolic

Image of several people sitting around a dais under fluorescent lights and a drop ceiling
The Crestwood Board of Education listens to a teacher speaking during the May 10, 2022, board meeting. Owen MacMillan/The Portager

With no discussion, the Crestwood Board of Education banned the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) at their June 28 meeting, even though the subject is not part of the district’s curriculum.

The ban passed 3-2, with Kristen Cavanaugh, Timothy Herron and Bonnie Lovejoy voting yes and Todd Monroe and Karen Schulz opposed. 

Several community members spoke out in favor of the CRT ban, citing flashpoints in the national political conversation. One woman said she was worried children might be asked to participate in a “privilege walk,” an activity designed to highlight forms of societal hardship, but did not suggest that this takes place at Crestwood.

Others called the resolution irrelevant since no one has ever suggested teaching CRT at Crestwood. 

“It’s a graduate-level course at the university level,” Monroe said. “It’s not part of Ohio curriculum and certainly by extension not a part of the Crestwood curriculum. So to me it’s just a moot point”

CRT is a concept in legal studies exploring the intersection of race, law and society. It might appear on a law school syllabus, not a high school history class.

The Crestwood Board of Education first considered the ban on CRT at its May 10 meeting but tabled the discussion because of a typo in the resolution. 

None of the board members who supported the measure would explain their position at the time. They offered some comments Tuesday night.

“It was originally designed, it’s a theory,” Lovejoy said. “It’s not curriculum.” 

“It’s theory, not history, there’s a difference,” Herron said. “Also, I appreciate everything that teachers do. And if you have any questions, you want to teach something specific, you can make a request … if you’re going to have any qualms about whether it’s this or not.”

There was no discussion from the board before it voted, but six attendees spoke in favor of the ban during the public comment period, and one spoke against it.

“No child of any race should be taught that the color of their skin is what defines them, or that they are inherently racist or privileged because of it,” said Nancy Shepard, a resident of the Crestwood school district and a retired teacher who has grandchildren in the district.

Ian Jones, a Crestwood alumnus, asked if there are “other graduate level courses besides critical race theory that the school board has identified to reject? No, because this is political.”

“This is a controversy that has been manufactured for political purposes. Our school board should be above politics and not fall victim to political rhetoric,” he said.

Visit the League of Women Voters of Northern Portage County to learn more about the June 28, 2022, Crestwood school board meeting.

Alexandra Golden
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