Claims that a California school told students that white people had "no culture" have sparked controversy, with a parent expressing outrage about the alleged incident.
The mother of one of the students reported the claims to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District last week, saying that her daughter was taught about white privilege during a choir class and was told by an "equity teacher" that white people have no culture.
The school district is working with an "equity teacher on special assignment," according to its website, to "interrupt any inequitable practices in school culture and curriculum and eliminate barriers to personal and academic success."
"As a parent of a choir student, having outside instruction regarding white privilege with the choir students was incredibly hurtful, demeaning, and demeaning to many students in the class," the woman said on September 12. "It not only created division and confusion between the students, but it was also incorrect information."
She added: "During this, the teacher's discussion with the class, she stated that white people had no culture and any culture that they did have was stolen. She gave inaccurate information that the students could quickly google and figure out that was wrong." She said the U.S. number one condiment is not "salsa," as the teacher apparently claimed, and that the number one American dish is hamburgers, and not "chicken tikka masala."
The mom asked for the district to investigate the incident and "rectify it." She also called for more parents' involvement in the teaching at the school district.
"It is apparent that there are things that are being taught to our children where the district or the school does not provide a necessary opt-in or opt-out form for parents," said the woman.
A video of the school board meeting with the woman's intervention is available on YouTube.
The woman, who remained unnamed in the video and in the following news media report, has been noted as being part of Moms for Liberty—a conservative political organization advocating not mentioning LGBTQ+ rights, race and ethnicity in school curricula.
The Indiana chapter of the group recently came under fire for sharing a newsletter containing a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler, for which it later apologized, condemning the Nazi leader.
A spokesperson for the school district told Crisis in the Classroom (CITC) on Monday that a "guest teacher" had recently discussed "content that was not applicable to choir instruction because it related to a non-school sponsored excursion to South Africa" with two choir classes. The spokesperson added that the content of the discussion "was not an appropriate topic for this class and may have been offensive to some of our students."
Newsweek contacted Moms for Liberty and the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and the district's director of educational equity for comment by email on Tuesday.
It isn't the first time that the San Ramon Valley Unified School District has come under fire on such issues.
About a month ago, tensions rose during a public debate over a resolution on whether the school district should mandate flying a Pride flag during the month of June, with those in attendance split between support and opposition.
CBS News reported that some questioned whether the school district should discuss issues related to sexuality and gender at all, instead of leaving them to parents. Among the dozens of people in the room were several members of the Contra Costa County chapter of Moms for Liberty.
Despite the opposition of some members of the public, the school board passed the resolution unanimously.