In Fairfax County’s public schools, it’s OK to be racist against white and Asian children
This op-ed was written by Stephanie Lundquist-Arora, IWN member and chapter leader in Virginia. Originally appeared on Washington Examiner.
This week, I lodged a complaint with a public high school in Fairfax County that one of its teachers holds biases against white male students following an incident concerning what I believe to have been grading inequities. The principal tasked an administrator to investigate my accusation that the teacher has referred to a “privileged white boy” in front of her students on more than one occasion.
A few hours later, the administrator concluded her “investigation” and sent me an email indicating that the teacher “never said that to any student, ever. She is fair and consistent with her grading with all students.”
Clearly, the administrator is committed to thorough investigations concerning matters of racism against the students. In just a few short hours, without speaking to me for clarification or collecting witnesses’ names or statements, she was able to testify confidently that the teacher “never” used the phrase “privileged white boy” in front of her students, “ever.”
The administrator, likely a friend of the teacher’s, is wrong. The teacher reportedly referred to Shakespeare’s Romeo as a privileged white boy and to a student in one of her classes as “a basic white boy.” The apparently self-loathing white teacher has not just implicit but also explicit biases against white male students.
The school’s failure to consider these biases more deeply is particularly ironic given the district’s recent implementation of a bias incident reporting system. In July 2022, the Fairfax County School Board tasked the superintendent with developing a “bias-related incident accountability infrastructure.”
From the infrastructure’s inception, I have publicly opposed such a system because the district already had the “Bullying and Harassment Management System” for incident reporting. Bias incident reporting systems face many legal challenges and are believed to chill free speech.
School board members who supported the reporting system felt it was necessary and contended that it empowered the students and parents to report the implicit biases of not only students but teachers. So one would think that school administrators should be concerned, not dismissive, when teachers reportedly are explicitly biased.
… any form of expression intended to humiliate or incite hatred against a group or class of persons based upon their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, national origin, citizenship/immigration status, weight, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or disability.
Under the code of conduct, students who use hate speech, broadly defined, must undergo a mandatory “culturally responsive intervention.” Does Fairfax County Public Schools not hold its teachers to the same standards?
There are clear inequities in the implementation process of the bias incident reporting system. Imagine if I had reported to the school that a teacher wasn’t using the preferred pronoun of a student or that a teacher was being overtly racist against a student who wasn’t white or Asian. The administrator would not likely have been so blasé without a more thorough investigation to assure me that the teacher “never said that to any student, ever.”
A paradoxical cancer is infecting our public schools across the nation. On the one hand, more and more K-12 public schools are creating bias incident reporting systems to record perceived discrimination and thought crimes. Meanwhile, teachers and students alike are free to make disparaging comments against approved subgroups of children and discriminate against them, Asians in particular, in admissions processes to public K-12 magnet schools.
Parents and citizens need to scrutinize the messages in public education that threaten equal opportunity and merit in America. Sadly, though, it seems we have reached a point at which scrutiny is not enough. Public education is failing our children and needs competition if it is ever to improve.