Parents concerned about systemic racism, gender identity being taught in schools

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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — About a dozen people protested outside Monday night’s Bladen County Board of Education meeting with concerns about a new social studies curriculum they believe is harmful to their children.

In February, the State Board of Education approved new Social Studies standards for all students in grades K-12.

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Some parents and grandparents do not agree with topics like gender identity potentially being included as a Social Studies topic.

“Teaching children that it’s okay if you’re a boy but you think you’re a girl, or vice-versa, you’re a girl but you want to be a boy, that is something that is for the parents to raise their children and teach their children,” said grandmother Tammy Heath.

Bladen County Republican Party Chair Wayne Schaeffer says another concern is teaching systemic racism as part of American History.

“This is not encouraging a legitimate or even a patriotic approach to America, it’s developing a sense of guilt on the part of these kids, especially the white kids,” Schaeffer said. It’s political garbage that’s being cloaked as an educational program. They’ve used very fancy words, but when you read between the lines it’s nonsense. I don’t want my kids or my grandkids being taught this.”

An earlier draft of the new standards included curriculums on systemic racism and gender identity, however the words systemic and gender have since been removed.

Supporters of the new standards say they will be more ​inclusive of historically marginalized voices.

Parents tried to attend Monday’s Board of Education meeting to have some of their concerns heard, but were turned away at the door along with WWAY.

WWAY asked board members for clarification of the new standards and were referred to superintendent Dr. Jason Atkinson.

Atkinson told us he had no comment at this time, and could set up an interview for a later date.