YORKTOWN — During the Sept. 27 school board meeting for the York County School Division (YCSD), District 4 School Board Representative James E. Richardson publicly took issue with comments made by District 1 Supervisor Walter C. Zaremba, at the York County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting on Sept. 21.
“I’ve listened to a lot of misinformation from individuals and board members on the Board of Supervisors,” Richard said during the Matters by Board Members part of the meeting. “The two boards have enjoyed a great relationship over the years, or at least I thought so.”
Richardson went on to refute comments Zaremba made about YCSD teaching the highly controversial subject of “Critical Race Theory,” and spending millions of dollars on a teacher training program called Kognito that teaches school faculty how to identify vulnerable students in their classrooms.
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In the previous BOS meeting, Zaremba listed several issues he had with the YCSD board and Superintendent Dr. Victor D. Shandor.
“We are teaching critical race theory,” Zaremba posited to his fellow supervisors. “The superintendent told me two months ago that we are not. I have listened to the school board approve everything that the superintendent has requested, as was pointed out tonight. A $2.1 million contract awarded to a company that will come in and teach our teachers how to be psychologists.”
He went on to say that by using the program that YCSD was taking the students’ mental wellbeing out of the parents’ hands.
Zaremba also mentioned that the school board had approved several measures despite the protests of parents in the school district. He encouraged his colleagues on the BOS to meet with with its counterpart on the school board.
“Talk to your school board member, try to get to the truth of what is going on,” Zaremba said in the meeting. “They won’t admit to the truth.”
In his rebuttal at the school board meeting, Richardson stated that YCSD has refuted Zaremba’s claims more than once.
“Mr. Zaremba, you have asked and been told time and time again, that YCSD does not teach critical race theory.” Richardson said. “I challenge him to show me a course or find an example of it.”
Richardson also denied that YCSD had spent anywhere close to the figure put forward by Zaremba, and he disagreed with the supervisor’s assessment of the purpose of the program.
Richardson said the amount spent on Kognito was closer to $110,000 and that it in no way trying to retrain teachers to be psychologists.
WYDaily is submitting a FOIA request for this exact figure and it will be added at a later date.
“Kognito’s pre-school to twelfth-grade simulations are designed to support our school division staff in recognizing and providing initial support to students who may be experiencing a crisis and provide early intervention to students in distress.”
In a phone interview after the YCSD school board meeting, Richardson said that his comments were made to defend the board against misinformation.
“It needed to be said,” Richardson maintained. “If people are going to continue to say things about that that are not true, and you keep your mouth shut, well people are going to starting thinking it’s true. Our staff works too hard to do what they do to be berated like that and questioned.”
Zaremba nor his office did not respond to a request from WYDaily for comment at the time of publication.