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Vermont group discusses critical race theory

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 5:13 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 4:54 AM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermonters for Vermont Initiative hosted a town hall Wednesday evening, bringing together people from all across Vermont to talk about critical race theory and what students are learning in school.

“It is my hope this forum may be a catalyst for future discussions within our community,” said Tricia O’Connor, a Rutland City parent and Rutland City Public School Board commissioner, who was one of five speakers.

Gregory Thayer, one of the event organizers, says this is about informing the public about critical race theory and its impacts on children.

“Energize the folks who are here that will go out and talk to their family and friends about getting involved, standing up, standing firm and fast, about the education going on in our schools,” Thayer said.

In the Rutland City Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent Rob Bliss says they do not teach CRT, and at this time they do not intend on implementing it.

“Maybe at some point we will get down to looking at it, but when we look at equity it goes well beyond race,” Bliss said.

RCPS has an equity work group which defines equity as “everyone gets what they need to become who they are self-determined to be, making sure that nothing is ‘in the way’ of any student growing to become the talented and wonderful humans they are.”

“The most important thing is that public education welcomes and educates all people and respects all families. That’s who we are. That’s what we do and so when we start talking about equity, that’s what it’s about. That’s it,” Bliss said.

But people at the town hall said equity is part of the problem, describing CRT as an outlet to divide people and give others more based on their race.

“Now these folks want to go back and make us all racists. And just because I am a white man, I am a racist?” Thayer said.

Wednesday night’s group wants to see parents talk to their kids about political and racial issues, not the schools. They reminded people that elections have consequences and towns need to elect like-minded people to avoid issues like this.

John Klar/Spoke at meeting: Now we are coming in and intruding on their best-laid plans and boy aren’t they getting their feathers ruffled?

Tricia O’Connor: And we’re just getting started!

John Klar: And we’re just getting started!

Speakers say more discussions are planned for the future, including one in Williston this September.

Related Story:

Essex Westford School District approves equity policy

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