Critical Race Theory Concerns Cited for Cancellation of Professor Flagler’s Teacher Training Seminar – Action News Jax
ST. AUGUSTINA, Fla. — A Flagler College history professor is raising questions after a teacher training seminar he was scheduled to teach on the civil rights movement in Osceola County was abruptly canceled.
The cited school district fears its seminar violates the state’s ban on critical race theory.
Dr. Mike Butler told us this was the first time an event like this had been cancelled.
He said the Osceola County School District never even asked for the materials it planned to use at the seminar.
He gave us the PowerPoint presentation and it only contains a list of historical incidents and photos.
“It was a historical presentation based on facts and evidence. It had nothing to do with critical race theory,” Butler said.
He thinks the district is trying to censor the history of the civil rights movement.
“If this topic can be censored, then any topic that makes people potentially uncomfortable could potentially be censored,” Butler said.
Osceola School Board member Jon Arguello said Butler’s presentation was only initially delayed, pending a citizen committee review of the curriculum.
An email from the district superintendent claims the district was unable to reschedule the training and had to cancel.
“If he has an issue to look into before giving training, then you have to question his intentions,” Arguello said.
Arguello called Butler’s response to the incident political and believes canceling the event was the right move.
“If he came here and his intention was to be non-ideological, non-political, that is not demonstrated by his remarks after the fact,” Arguello said.
However, another school board member, Terry Castillo, told us that the state’s ban on CRT in schools has made it harder to navigate topics like the civil rights movement.
“My concern is more to make sure we protect our teachers and to make sure we don’t inadvertently expose them to something that could later be seen as a violation of what the governor has released,” Castillo said. .
She said there was a lot to do if the district did not comply.
“We risk losing funds. We risk having someone come down and take over our district and tell us how to do our job if we don’t comply,” Castillo said.
And that’s what worries Butler the most.
“It’s concerning for those of us who teach difficult subjects for a living,” Butler said.
As the state Legislature now considers a bill that would not only codify the banning of CRT in schools, but also ban its teaching by private employers, Castillo said she hopes lawmakers will provide more clarity on what actually constitutes critical race theory to avoid confusion in the future.
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