Lower Merion School District uses race-based affinity groups for students as young as fourth grade, claims 7 month olds can ‘discern race and show preferences.’
- Affinity Groups
The Lower Merion School District, as part of its “Equity Efforts,” offers students of color as young as grade 4 and 5 the opportunity to participate in racial affinity groups. The affinity groups are described as “safe spaces for students to engage in conversations and activities about race, empowerment, culture and excellence.”
The middle school affinity group named “REACH” offers students “conversations about race, empowerment, and inclusivity.” Included in a presentation are a list of opportunities for the race-based group to participate in such as guest speakers, field trips, and team-building games.
Additionally, a student questionnaire asks what activities REACH members are most interested in. Options include “activism opportunities” and “meeting with middle school students of color from different school districts in PA.”
The school district program titled “Cultural Proficiency for Kids,” or CP4KIDs, states that its intent is to increase students “understandings of identity and diversity.” The programming lessons were revised to “include equity, justice, and antiracism.” The district webpage states that “research suggests that babies as young as 7 months can discern race and show preferences.”
A first-grade lesson plan, included as part of the districts CP4KIDs program, uses the picture book “The Skin You Live In.” The lesson requires the teacher to ask six- and seven-year-old students to “point out the different skin colors throughout” the book. The lesson plan also invites “students to discuss their skin color” and for the teacher to “hand out mirrors” while asking the students to “look closely at, and identify, their distinguished attributes.”