'Do right by the children': G-A schools release stance on Critical Race Theory

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

The words diversity, equity and inclusive are at the heart of the Greencastle-Antrim School District's statement in response to Critical Race Theory.

This is the Greencastle-Antrim School District's statement, presented at the Aug. 5 school board meeting, in response to Critical Race Theory.

Some parents spoke up at a school board meeting in July with concerns about CRT, an issue that's getting attention in school districts and statehouses across the country.

At the Aug. 5 meeting, Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, presented the statement. It is the result of a number of meetings with multiple groups, including concerned parents, according to Hanks.

"We wanted to form a very clear stance," she said.

One of the most important things to come out of the discussions is the knowledge that "this is an ongoing situation and that our best approach as a district and as a community is to do this together, each step of the way. So, as concerns arise we will come together, we will discuss, but what's most important to us is that we do right by the children in our district," Hanks said.

The statement says:

"The Greencastle-Antrim School District recognizes the equal worth, dignity, and value of each member of our community as part of the human race. We are a diverse community that celebrates the interaction of cultures and appreciates the richness that diversity adds to the fabric of the community.  

"For the Greencastle-Antrim School District, equity is defined as providing every child the resources and supports they need to be successful academically, emotionally, and physically.  

"We commit to providing an inclusive educational environment that offers all students equal opportunity in the general education curriculum to the maximum extent possible. We will promote a culture of collaboration to provide appropriate modifications, instruction, and accommodations to meet the individual needs of each child.

"We aim to do this without underlying ideologies that may be harmful or divisive. We want every child in the Greencastle-Antrim School District to have a clear path to success and opportunity!"

Hanks shared a slide from her opening message on the district website gcasd.org that shows a little boy hanging from a tree branch with the quote "You can't get mastery without experiencing risk."

Dr. Lura Hanks, superintendent, shared this slide at the Aug. 5 school board meeting while discussing the district statement in response to Critical Race Theory, and said, 'Tackling an issue such as this head-on, it's risky, but we're going to do it and we're going to do it together as a community.'

"Tackling an issue such as this head-on, it's risky, but we're going to do it and we're going to do it together as a community," Hanks said.

On the same page

Mary Bender, who has four children in the district, and Becky Grosskreutz, who has two, met with Hanks and other administrators about their concerns and were at the Aug. 5 meeting.

Bender said the administrators were wonderful, took the time to hear and research their concerns and were "brave enough to take a public stance."

Grosskreutz called it "a good start, a good meeting."

"We walked away confident we are on the same page," Bender said.

Another goal is to have parameters for teachers, Bender added. Grosskreutz said the administrators made it clear to let them know if concerns arise about teachers or lessons.

After the meeting, Hanks said the district will be directed by teacher guidelines from the Stanford History Education Group in dealing with potentially controversial topics. SHEG's "Historical Thinking Chart" includes the historical reading skills of sourcing, contextualization, corroboration and close reading, along with questions to go with each skill.