Parents, faculty, students sign letter to ACPS in support of LGBTQ+, anti-racist curriculum

Over 250 people signed a letter to the school board in support of the "Courageous Conversations" pilot program, while some parents say there needs to be more in
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 5:36 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Parents, teachers, educators and community members in Albemarle County are joining forces to support the district’s inclusion policies.

More than 250 of them signed a letter to the School Board in support of anti-racist and LGBTQ+ inclusive teaching, citing a pilot program called Courageous Conversations currently being implemented at J.T. Henley Middle School.

Some parents shared concerns about what the program includes during a meeting Thursday, May 27, and how it’s being taught.

Those signing and sharing the letter want the School Board to continue the program, and not allow parents the option to opt out.

Karen Waters-Wick is an educator with the district, and is also faculty advisor of the county’s Student Equity Advisory Team (SEAT).

“What people are looking for is a curricula that is reflecting of our society,” Waters-Wick said.

Virginia law requires the adoption of polices, procedures and practice that are inclusive for LGBTQ+ students before the 2021-2022 academic year. The district has already adopted anti-racist policies.

Waters-Wick says those kinds of policies, and educational opportunities, give everyone a seat at the table.

“This is how they learn, by creating circumstances that allow them to put their hands on real-world issues. It brings not only relevance, but it helps them to stretch themselves, and to have a greater understanding of themselves and their place in the world,” Waters-Wick said.

But others believe it’s too soon, too fast.

“We need to have some courageous conversations amongst the parents and the community before we expose our children to the conflict that is involved in this subject matter,” Matt Anderson said. “The parents need to do it first. Not the children in school.”

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