The Virgina Beach School Board voted on the following resolution last night:
WHEREAS, the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia values diversity, promotes inclusiveness and is committed to providing a learning environment whereby ALL students have access and opportunities to benefit from the high standards, support and resources required for a high quality education; and
WHEREAS, the School Board values the uniqueness of each member of its staff, student population and community and encourages individual and multiple perspectives; and
WHEREAS, the School Board must provide a clear and transparent understanding of the School Division’s positions and expectations regarding equity training, teaching and learning; and
WHEREAS, the School Board recognizes that individual and group perspectives on equity may differ and are subject to constitutional and other protections. Accordingly, the School Board acknowledges that it cannot limit or discourage employees from researching, discussing, or exploring books, media/publications or materials related to racial issues that divide rather than seek unity, but ask that they do it on their own time and not on school property; and
WHEREAS, the School Board does acknowledge that while racism does still exist, it is not an acceptable practice within the VBCPS division;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that
- Any school, school-based program, activity or entity that is operated, controlled, paid for or under the jurisdiction of the School Board shall refrain from training, teaching, or promoting the following to students and employees:
— That any race is inherently superior or inferior to any other race
— That any individual by virtue of his or her race or skin color is inherently racist, privileged or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.
— That any individual, by virtue of his or her race or skin color bears responsibility for the actions committed by other members of his or her race, skin color or religion.
— An individual’s moral character or worth is determined by his or her race or skin color.
— That the United States is a fundamentally and inherently racist country.
— That capitalism is racist.
- That any violation of the above mentioned be reported to the Superintendent or designee through applicable policies, regulations, and procedures for resolving complaints by parents, students or staff. Individuals reporting any alleged violation will not be retaliated against. Adopted by the School Board of the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia this day of October 2021.
Because resolutions can backfire in unexpected ways, it is probably best to avoid creating them as a rule. That is, we should probably prefer public agencies to be guided by principles more than by rules.
Still, the substance of this particular resolution seems both benign and desirable to me. I take it as a sign of local authoritarianism that the august members of the board rejected it.