YORK COUNTY — Almost every seat in the York Hall board room was filled at the start of the November York County Board of Supervisors (BoS) meeting on Tuesday night, Nov. 16.
Of the assembled crowd, 32 York County residents addressed the board during the citizens’ comment period of the meeting. All of them spoke in reference to the proposed resolution written by District 1 Supervisor Walter C. Zaremba.
In the proposal entitled, “A Resolution in Support of Parental Rights York County: Where America’s Freedom Was Won!,” takes issue with curriculum handed down from the Virginia Department of Education known as Cultural Competency Training. The resolution goes on to address the rights of parents in regard to making decisions on what their children are taught.
The document directs the York County School Division (YCSD) as a whole to adhere to §1-240.1 of the Code of Virginia as it pertains to the “Rights of Parents” and to refrain from teaching any curriculum from the VDOE that involves the culturally responsive teaching. The resolution then states that the BoS would withhold tax dollars if YCSD did not adhere to Virginia Code as prescribed.
Of those who spoke, half were in favor of the resolution, while the other half against.
Those supporting the draft proposal cited concerns about Critical Race Theory and cultural competency training for YCSD staff. Several speakers also cited concerns regarding policies that expose children to social issues such as trans students.
“You’ll probably never find the words ‘Critical Race Theory’ in the curriculum,” Lynda Fairman of Tabb said of the cultural competency training. “However, its ideology and principals are being pushed with this requirement for every teacher in every class. This ideology teaches that all whites are oppressors and succeed only because of white supremacy.”
Many of those speaking against the resolution stated that it was written in bad faith and without any input from the school board or any YCSD officials.
Barbara Haywood, who was on the YCSD School Board from 1989 to 2019, was among those voicing opposition. Particularly with the documents claim that the rights of parents have ever been at risk.
“In my thirty years on the school board, I do not remember where the school board disagreed with the statement regarding rights of the parents,” Haywood said. “The school board and the division has always sought input from the parents, students, the business community and the community at large.”
After the the public comment section, Board Chairman Chad Green of District 3 stated that he would no put Zaremba’s resolution on the agenda until the BoS had a joint meeting with the school board.
“When Mr. Zaremba presented this resolution I stated that it would be great for us to pass a joint resolution,” Green said. “I still believe that. I spoke to the school board, I spoke to every member of the school board and we are going to sit down at a future meeting and talk about this resolution and other issues affecting the schools.”