The Mellon School Board in Wisconsin voted on April 20, 2022, to adopt a new policy to prohibit race from being discussed during American history lessons. This decision follows a vote in March that barred subjects such as critical race theory, religion, sexual orientation, privilege, empathy, and political orientation from being taught in classrooms.
The school board’s new policy adopted its language following survey responses from parents. Besides barring discussions of race during history lessons, the new policy states that gender and sexual orientation can be discussed using only what is described as fact-based information rather than theory or discussion. Teachers are allowed to address topics such as privilege but cannot discuss race when doing so. Similarly, educators may talk about equity but are prohibited from mentioning race, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
According to the survey conducted by Mellen School District, 72% of responders opposed teaching sexual orientation; 73% opposed teaching gender identity; 66% opposed teaching critical race theory, and 68% opposed teaching white privilege. Conversely, 64% of responders support teaching empathy, 58% supported teaching inclusion, and 56% support teaching anti-racism.
Eight teachers submitted a letter to the board against the new policy. They argue the policy will deprive students of the opportunity to practice the reasoning and communication skills necessary to develop and defend their own opinion regarding these topics, according to the Ashland Daily Press.