Opinion: Amity parents write in opposition to ‘diversity’ curriculum

Amity High School in Woodbridge

Amity High School in Woodbridge

File photo

The following letter, signed by 94 parents/citizens, was delivered this week to the Amity Regional School Board and superintendent, which together administer Amity Regional High School and the Orange and Bethany-Woodbridge Middle Schools:

On Oct. 24, the posted agenda for that evening’s meeting of the Amity Regional Board of Education included a proposed “mission statement” of “guiding principles” regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DEI”).

At that meeting, a notably diverse assortment of community members from the Amity School District — a total of 13 — made public comments, all in clear opposition to the introduction into our schools of DEI pedagogy and its ever-present academic twin, Critical Race Theory (CRT). Not one speaker expressed support for those divisive agendas. The community members made clear that they supported an inclusive environment of equal respect for all students, and that they opposed DEI/CRT precisely because, in virtually all its applications around the country, it undermines that goal by over-emphasizing students’ separate group identities of race/ethnicity/gender, divides those groups into “oppressed” vs “oppressor” categories, and hence triggers and heightens interracial/intergroup animosities.

After the community members spoke, the planned vote on adopting the proposed DEI guiding principles was interrupted and postponed because of a fire alarm that forced a building evacuation.

The minutes of that meeting have since been posted on the school board website . The minutes purport to briefly summarize the subject-matters of the 13 speakers’ public comments — yet with just one possible exception, the meeting minutes give no indication whatsoever about whether any of the speakers supported or opposed the school board’s proposed DEI/CRT agenda. One can only speculate whether the minutes would have been so imprecise had the speakers all declared support for DEI. This is a glaring omission, which serves to obscure and deny the strong community opposition to that agenda as expressed at the meeting. Readers of the minutes would have no idea that, if the school board votes to implement its DEI/CRT agenda, then such a vote would be in complete opposition to all public comment at the meeting.

Whether those omissions from the minutes reflect the board’s intentional act, or simply inattention to the speakers, they are highly concerning. Posting such incomplete minutes on the highly controversial issue of DEI/CRT pedagogy replicates a well-documented pattern that has been happening around the country: School boards seek to conceal from the public their efforts to infiltrate DEI/CRT pedagogy into school curricula, then seek to marginalize and stifle those in opposition.

Accordingly, this letter seeks to publicly correct the record of the Oct. 24, 2022, school board meeting. To be clear: The signers of this letter all support an inclusive school environment of equal respect and dignity for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender preference, and gender identity. At the same time, we uniformly oppose the introduction of DEI/CRT pedagogy into our school curricula, because it is (1) empirically unsupported, (2) academically detrimental, (3) socially divisive, and (4) thoroughly corrosive of that very goal of equal respect and dignity for all.

And in light of the problematic meeting minutes from the school board meeting, the signers of this letter also call upon the Board of Education and the school administration to return to practices of transparency and clarity that are the essential foundation for effective public discourse in our democracy.

Henry Kopel, on behalf of 94 concerned parents & citizens of the Amity Regional School District