On June 21, 2021, Florida’s Voice reported that Babcock Neighborhood School’s principal is committed to teaching students tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT). In a Facebook post, the principal explains that the teachers in her school are “addressing the unwritten history and systemic racism.” She then complains that many parents pushing back simply want “textbook instruction only.” She states that many opposing parents “are former military and do not acknowledge white privilege.” She then states in the post: “I have read a ton this last year, every book I can squeeze in on racism! I am 100% committed to this work and am willing to do whatever is needed to stand for those who being treated and have been treated unjustly for far too long.”
Florida’s Voice describes Shannon Treece as the principal of the school. The school’s website lists her as the “executive director.” The news outlet’s article features several social media posts from Shannon Treece. In one post, she shares an image that appears to be the school teaching first grade students to be activists by choosing to “march in our community.” She has also shared an image that states to “vote as if your skin is not white” and as if “your child is transgender.” Her reasoning is that “privilege has no place in an election.” She has another post that appears to attack Christians for not supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. She tells Christians to “crack open your Bible and hit up Luke 15.”
In an email, she states that her “challenge is how to bring people to the table to have hard discussions about our fears and anxieties and move the world of Babcock further forward than we are today in regard to acceptance.” Florida’s Voice explains that Babcock Neighborhood School is a charter school in Babcock Ranch. The news outlet reported that Babcock Ranch is “a small private community in rural Charlotte County.” The next nearest school “is more than a thirty-minute drive” away from the community.
On June 24, 2021, Florida’s Voice reported that Shannon Treece also sent an email to parents. The news outlet reported her stating: “In short, Babcock Neighborhood School does NOT teach Critical Race Theory. But we do approach the important topics of bullying, biases.” The news outlet further reported that she said “not surprisingly, race does come up in the conversation” in classes. Florida’s Voice stated that she “deleted her Twitter account” after parents noticed her comments.
Concerned parents created a petition titled “Remove Principal Treece and Critical Race Theory from Babcock Ranch Neighborhood School.” The petition states that “Treece has violated a state order that prohibits schools from teaching Critical Race Theory.” The petition received 249 supporters and is now closed. Parents further stated in the petition:
We demand a full and independent audit of the current charter and the implementation of all charter missions and values. We demand that we may see the alignment of said missions and values in any and all curricula. We request that there is a curriculum coordinator hired to oversee and implement Florida Sunshine Standards and hold accountable the teachers and the administration. We will no longer tolerate or support the unstructured curricula that serve as a vehicle for delivering an immoral, illegal and unethical political agendum.
Parents who appear to support Critical Race Theory created an opposing petition titled “Support Principal Treece and Critical Race Theory at Babcock Ranch Neighborhood School.” The creators of this petition explained:
We are creating this petition to highlight and clarify that not ALL residents of the Babcock Ranch community oppose the teaching of CRT and Principal Treece’s leadership. Though we acknowledge that CRT is a controversial topic, we also acknowledge that (like Germany with the holocaust) we Americans, as people and as an institution, need to examine our history and begin to teach our children all aspects of that history from every viewpoint so as to not continue making the same mistakes we have made, as a country and a people, for many generations.
This petition is still open but has only received 16 supporters. The creators of the petition continued to explain that “we want our children to be taught the whole story; not the version that made Christopher Columbus a hero, but the hard, tough, dirty and sometimes uncomfortable truth.” The petition only has one comment that states: “UNSIGN me from this petition. I am not in agreement with CRT being taught in schools.”