“The narrative of a culture war is wrong – our students deserve an education uncolored by politicians’ agendas, an education with a clear history and free speech on important topics like race and equality,” reads -on in the press release.
This protest came in light of a national conversation around Critical Race Theory, a body of academic work that suggests racism is ingrained in all facets of American life. Citizens across the country and Georgia have spoken out against the application of the CRT in staff training or curriculum in school districts.
Over the past month, however, citizens have used the CRT in reference to other programs and initiatives such as DCI, Implicit Bias training, and anti-racism efforts.
Recently, the governor-appointed Georgia Board of Education passed a resolution banning the teaching of CRT and similar concepts to students and teachers in public schools across the state. Cobb and Cherokee County School Boards have also passed similar resolutions.
Students and educators from Fulton, Cobb, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties all gathered outside of the State Council meeting on Thursday morning, many of them protesting the resolution and for further DCI education in their schools.
Two students from Denmark’s secondary school spoke alongside the protesters, sharing their experiences of discrimination within the FCS and explaining why they believe DCI training and education would create a more enjoyable and safer environment for them. county students.
Rising Elder Aryani Duppada began by referring to her speech at the Forsyth County School Board meeting on Tuesday, June 15. When she finished speaking and walked away from the podium, a member of the audience shouted that she had been “brainwashed”.
Duppada said such remarks, along with those that say racism does not exist in Forsyth County, simply seek to invalidate her own experiences as a student at FCS.
“I was asked if I was illegal,” Duppada said. “Imagine asking your child that…. Imagine a little dark-haired boy hearing, “Do you have a gun on you? Or ‘Are you going to skip school?’ coming from their friends. They say these are just jokes, but they are not jokes.
By implementing DCI programs in schools, Duppada said that students and teachers can learn to understand the different “barriers” people face in life, and together they can work to remove those barriers and s ‘ensure that students do not encounter these same obstacles in the future.
“We don’t want anyone to feel bad about themselves, and we are by no means saying that whites have no barriers,” Duppada said. “We say to teach history the right way so that we can all be educated in the future and make sure the same mistakes don’t happen again.”
Danish student James Liming agreed with Duppada, repeating that DCI and similar programs are meant to educate others, not to shame them. As a gay and transgender student at FCS, Liming said the program and staff training could help teachers learn more about how to help their LGBTQ students.
During his years at FCS he said the teachers roughed him up and he still uses the staff toilet because he feels uncomfortable using the girls’ toilet at school .
Overall, Liming believes the DCI plan at Forsyth could help address such issues, and he said the plan could go even further to include lessons for students regarding prominent LGBTQ figures in the history of the country, “so that [LGBTQ] children can really feel that they have a future.
As residents of Forsyth County spoke out against DCI’s plan at board meetings last month, Education Board Chair Kristin Morrissey announced on Tuesday that the board would maintain the plan in place.
She explained that stakeholder feedback is important to every board member and the school system, and they will keep their feedback in mind when reassessing the district’s five-year strategic plan, which includes the DCI plan, year next.
In addition to Students for DCI and Students Against Sonny, representatives from several activist groups in the Metro Atlanta area spoke alongside Forsyth students at the protest, which took place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Later this month, groups plan to continue their protests near the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead.
Several activists in the group reminded others that members of the State Council are appointed by the governor. They also called on everyone to monitor local elections and races for posts in education.
For more information on Students for DEI, visit their Instagram page @ s4dei.ga.