Conflict Over Critical Race Theory Reaches Virginia Schools

Thomas Daniels, Editor in Chief

Chaos reigned at a Loudoun County school board meeting on August 7. More than 200 furious parents showed up to voice their concerns over Critical Race Theory (CRT), a philosophy that Loudoun County School officials say they do not use. One parent was arrested for trespassing and another for disorderly conduct. More fuel was added to the fire when Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, an FCPS elementary school, posted a video on their website titled “Woke Kindergarten in 60 seconds,” which went over topics such as the Black Lives Matter movement and CRT. The school later took the video down.

Graphic by Zainab Rentia.

Protests over Critical Race Theory have been rampant in the United States with 22 states having bills introduced in their legislatures that would prevent states from teaching their students about CRT. Five states in the union (Idaho, Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma) have put those bills into law. Opponents of CRT claim that it divides classrooms and gives a distorted view of American history; instead, classrooms should be focusing, according to Texas Senator Brandon Creighton in a Texas Tribune article, on “traditional history, focusing on the ideas that make our country great and the story of how our country has risen to meet those ideals.”

Critical race theorists believe that “the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans,” and it was organized in the late 80’s, but it can be traced back further, according to Britannica. Most Democrats and civil rights activists are in support of CRT because it comes at a time when the civil rights movement is picking back up again in light of the Black Lives Movement, and they want to show the role that race plays in America. A majority of Democrats that have heard of CRT have a positive view of it, 58 percent to be exact. Conversely, 85 percent of  Republicans and 71 percent of Independents have a negative view of Critical Race Theory. 

 Diversity in America is on the rise, and that trickles down to public schools as well. According to an NBC analysis of 2020 census data, the United States has had an 11.2 percent increase of people of color since 1994. In the same time frame, Fairfax County has seen the population of people of color rise 23.7 percent, and in Loudoun, where the protests took place, it rose 29.5 percent.