A Tennessee chapter of the conservative Moms for Liberty filed a complaint calling for the state’s education department to ban a book about Martin Luther King Jr., The Tennessean reports.
Tennessee earlier this year passed a law aimed at combatting so-called critical race theory, banning schools from teaching certain concepts in classrooms.
The law banned schools from teaching that one race or sex is inherently superior to another or that a person “by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously.”
Guidance from the state allows schools to teach impartial lessons “on the historical oppression of a particular group of people based on race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, or geographic region.”
The rules allow a current student, parent of a current student, or a current employee to file a complaint within 30 days.
The law allows the Department of Education to withhold funds from school districts it determined violated the law.
Moms for Liberty calls for MLK ban:
Robin Steenman, the chair of Moms for Liberty Williamson County chapter, filed the first complaint even though her child does not attend public schools.
The complaint alleges that the state’s Wit and Wisdom curriculum has a “heavily biased agenda” that makes children “hate their country, each other and/or themselves.”
The complaint calls out four books, including “Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington” and the autobiography of Ruby Bridges.
“The classroom books and teacher manuals reveal both explicit and implicit Anti-American, Anti-White, and Anti-Mexican teaching,” the complaint says. “The relentless nature of how these divisive stories are taught, the lack of historical context and difference in perspective, and the manipulative pedagogy all work together to amplify and sow feelings of resentment, shame of one’s skin color, and/or fear.”
Complaint rejected – for now:
The Department of Education declined to investigate the complaint but said the group can file another complaint.
Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn wrote in a letter to Steenman that the department is only authorized to investigate allegations stemming from the current school year.
The complaint, which was filed in July, also came 45 days after the alleged incident, two weeks too late under the current rules.
"Please note that in declining to investigate these claims, the department has not made a determination regarding the merits of these allegations. We encourage you to work with the Williamson County School District to resolve the issues and concerns related to your complaint and ensure compliance with state law," the letter said.