by Elizabeth Troutman
Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office said the Black Lives Matter at School toolkit released by a Virginia teacher’s union “will not be tolerated.”
The Virginia Education Association’s Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action toolkit champions BLM’s 13 principles in the classroom. It uses kindergarten through 12th grade lesson plans made by the education branch of the Southern Poverty Law Center to teach students principles including “transgender affirming,” “queer affirming,” “restorative justice,” and “globalism.”
The principles promote critical race theory, a racial lens that teaches students to deconstruct American society on the premise that its institutions are “systemically racist.” Younkin outlawed such education in a January 2022 executive order.
“Gov. Youngkin is empowering parents, restoring excellence in education, and has removed critical race theory from Virginia’s schools,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macauley Porter told The Daily Signal. “The VEA — the same union that kept schools shuttered and students at home during the pandemic — is now attempting to inject a politically-driven curriculum toolkit in an effort to teach kids to discriminate against one another based off their color, gender, race, or background.”
“This will not be tolerated,” she added.
The executive order targeted the “tenets of racially divisive concepts” in CRT, Youngkin said at the time.
Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, which falls on Feb. 6-10 this year, started in 2016 to teach “people of all ages to engage with issues of racial justice” during Black History Month.
Lesson plans in the toolkit come from Learning for Justice, the education branch of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is known for branding mainstream conservative and Christian groups as “hate groups,” placing them on a map with chapters of the Ku Klux Klan.
VEA member teachers agreed to wear Black Lives Matter shirts to school during action week and teach lessons about the school-to-prison-pipeline, restorative justice, or reparations, and Black history, according to the toolkit.
The toolkit lists BLM’s 13 principles, such as “Black Villages,” which is defined as “the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics and a return to the ‘collective village’ that takes care of each other.” Trans affirmation, according to the toolkit, “is the commitment to continue to make space for our trans brothers and sisters by encouraging leadership and recognizing trans-antagonistic violence.”
“Queer Affirming is working towards a queer-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists,” it continues.
Elementary school lesson plans examine race in children’s books. Middle schoolers read “Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is” and learn to explain BLM’s principles. High schoolers discuss colonialism through the Howard Zinn Education Project’s “The Color Line” and learn vocabulary words like “implicit bias” and “mass incarceration.”
“Black Lives Matter at School Toolkit [is] to be used as a resource guide for advancing racial justice in Virginia’s schools,” reads a letter from VEA Director of Human and Civil Rights Taisha Steele at the beginning of the toolkit.
Jonathan Butcher, Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal that Black Lives Matter’s principles coerce parents and students. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
“The group’s so-called ‘guiding principles’ say they are committed to ‘disrupting’ the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure’ which is clearly not an effort to persuade individuals to support radical gender ideas — they want to force their beliefs on students,” Butcher said.
The VEA did not immediately respond to a Daily Signal request for comment.
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Elizabeth Troutman is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.
Photo “Glenn Youngkin” by Glenn Youngkin.