Lawrence Public Schools shares image on Facebook of elementary students marching for Black Lives Matter movement
On February 13, 2022, Lawrence Public Schools shared a post on Facebook with images of young students from Cordley Elementary School celebrating “Black Lives Matter at Schools week with a march.” Children in the images held signs with various phrases celebrating the Black Lives Matter movement. The school district stated in the post:
Each student used their creativity and passion for change to design a sign to hold up. They walked around the school to spread their messages and encourage passing cars to join in with honks of encouragement.
The school district’s officials have a history of promoting racial equity and race-based decisions. On June 2, 2020, Superintendent Anthony Lewis published a statement promoting “racial equity.” He stated: “The most recent events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd and the increasing number of deaths of Black men at the hands of law enforcement continue to shed light on the consequences of social injustice and systemic racism that permeate the societal fabric of our nation.” He later added:
Our district’s racial equity journey began nearly 15 years ago with a book study of Courageous Conversations about Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools by Glenn Singleton. We expect all staff to participate in the training “Beyond Diversity: Introduction to Courageous Conversations and a Foundation for Deinstitutionalizing Racism and Eliminating Racial Achievement Disparities.” Our educators participate in culturally relevant teaching training. Each of our schools has an Equity Leadership Team. We evaluate curriculum and other educational resources with a culturally relevant rubric.
He then made it clear that the goal was to turn students into political activists: “We want our scholars to become change agents who will work to end systemic racism. This is our legacy work.” He also explicitly made a reference to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
On October 24, 2016, the district’s Board of Education also published a statement supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. In this statement, the Board stated that public schools “have historically helped perpetuate the institutionalized racism and other social injustices that exist within our society, something that continues to this day.” The Board made the following statement regarding Black Lives Matter:
The Lawrence Board of Education shares our community’s concerns regarding institutional racism and other social injustices, and stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, LGBTQ and women’s rights efforts, and other attempts to bring these important issues to the forefront of public discussion.
The school district’s website has a page titled “Antiracist Parenting Resources” that starts with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” The district then states: “This page will share research to learn, reflections to sit with and consider your part in systemic racism, and action step to engage families in antiracist efforts with their littlest learners.”
One resource is a document titled “Antiracist Parenting.” The document appears to argue that babies can be racist as young as three months old. The document also discusses the idea of “white privilege” and defines “whiteness” as “the way that white people, their customs, culture, and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups of are compared.”