Aiken school board tables discussions on three classes involving critical race theory

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AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — The Aiken County School District is working to figure out what classes will be offered for the next school year, but some on the school board want to further discuss some of the offerings.

Critical race theory is a topic being discussed across the country and here at home.

“Race theory argues that racism and discrimination can be embedded in our institutions making it systemic,” Associate Professor Augusta University Dr. Mary-Kate Lizotte told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Dr. Lizotte says she has heard arguments both for as well as against including critical race theory in curriculums but it has its place in the classroom.

“Would really do a disservice to students if you didn’t include it in the classroom. It’s just a part of our history and also understanding current events and where we are now,” she added.

The Aiken County school system is looking to figure out what place it would have in classrooms locally. School board members recently tabled discussions on three courses modern cultural events, APEX and, Schofield Middle School African American Studies. Some school leaders wondered about what would be inside the curriculum. Others worried about talks going on at the state capitol.

“At some point during the semester, we either adapt the course and make sure that it doesn’t include any, anything questionable from a legal standpoint, or we can probably shift students into another elective,” Superintendent of Aiken schools King Laurence said at a recent school board meeting.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lizotte offered this advice on how the curriculum should be taught when dealing with race.

“African-American students might feel like they’re being the object of that lesson rather than being able to be, you know, just a regular student. And also that white students don’t feel like they’re being blamed in some way,” she shared.

The school board is expected to continue its discussion at the next board meeting.

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