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Virginia School Board Declares there is "No Systemic Racism"

Isle of Wight County educators are now barred from teaching students about “systemic racism,” per a 3-2 School Board vote on March 9.  The vote changed the language of School Board Policy INB, which deals with teaching controversial issues. The adopted changes now explicitly assert “there is no systemic racism or bigotry perpetuated by the United States or any governmental entity.”  

The assertion is one of seven principles teachers are now mandated to follow when instructing students. The other six state:  

  • Parents have the sole responsibility for guiding their children’s views on controversial topics.
  • Life should be viewed without bias or discrimination toward any individual or group based on their characteristics or identities.
  • No one is inherently a victim or oppressed, consciously or unconsciously, due to their race, skin color, gender, religion, national origin sex, medical condition, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status or disability.
  • A person’s value, success and moral character are not determined by their race, ethnicity or sex.
  • Socioeconomic or citizenship status does not make a person superior or inferior to others.
  • Employees of Isle of Wight County Schools shall not endorse any political party, candidate or ideology in the performance of their duties.

The policy revision, put forward by board member Jason Maresh, is the latest iteration of efforts by the board’s new conservative majority to eliminate what they’ve called “divisive” content from Isle of Wight County Schools’ curriculum.  

“I campaigned in large part for the premise behind this policy, it’s no secret, and I was elected by 67% of voters in my district,” Maresh said. “In Virginia, parents get a voice in how and what their children are exposed to.”  

The vote is among the latest to split along racial lines. Denise Tynes and Michael Cunningham, the board’s two Black members, each opposed the policy change.


Matthew Ployd, a Smithfield High School history teacher, called the listed seven principles a “manifesto” rather than a policy.  “The only ones pushing a political agenda here in Isle of Wight are you, the board,” Ployd said.

Read entire article at Windsor Weekly