The Cobb County School Board of Education passed a resolution to prohibit teaching of critical race theory in the district Thursday.
The vote was split among partisan lines, with republican members voting for the resolution and democratic members voting against the resolution. Chair Randy Scamihorn, David Chastain, David Banks and Brad Wheeler — all Republican — voted in favor of prohibiting teaching critical race theory. Democrats Jaha Howard, Leroy Tre’ Hutchins and Charisse Davis abstained from voting for the resolution.
The resolution states that critical race theory will not be taught in the district under any name. Additionally it states, the district will not use the 1619 project, a New York Times long-form journalism project that “aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative,” according to the New York Times.
When asked by board members why the 1619 project was included in the resolution, Scamihorn said he opposed any form of “revisionist history” in the district .
“This is a sad day for our district, and that this is clearly a coddling and a pampering of white supremacists’ ideology, which is consistent with some of our worst habits, and I hope that we will take the opportunity to correct course,” Howard said.
Tensions flared during discussion of the resolution, particularly between Hutchins and Scamihorn.
“I don’t think that — 70 percent of our teaching staff, which is white — maliciously aligned curriculum to make white children and Black children feel bad about who they are,” Hutchins said.
Davis said racism as defined by Kimberly Clark Shaw, the creator of critical race theory, is a part of everyday life — though critical race theory as people commonly use the term has not been properly defined.
“Critical race theory has become a conservative talking point. We have no idea what it is and certainly weren’t worried about it for the last 40 plus years it’s been around,” Davis said.
Chastain, who voted in favor of the resolution, said because many people don’t understand what the theory really means, the resolution is necessary.
“Put this to the side so we can focus on the things that are important to our kids,” Chastain said. “I think this is an adult issue. I don’t think this is a kids’ issue.”
Scamihorn, who presented the resolution to the board, said he was offended by some of what was said by board members who opposed prohibiting the theory in the district.
“I guess I’m condemned for trying to move forward — be it agreed to or not — whether it was last year or this year,” Scamihorn said. “So I’ll wear that scarlet letter proudly, that I keep trying and it may come up short, but I’m going to keep trying and the focus for me is on our students.”