COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Two school districts in central Ohio are responding after video posted online shows school employees talking about critical race theory in the school systems.
Upper Arlington and Groveport Madison schools are the two districts addressing this.
Both districts said the videos were recorded under false pretenses and the employees did not know they were being recorded.
Community members said they are concerned about this.
“I would hope this is seen for what it is and is stopped before it becomes a bigger picture,” said Betsy O’Brochta.
O’Brochta lives in Upper Arlington, her children graduated from Upper Arlington Schools, and she was a teacher in the district for 30 years.
She said the video posted online by a conservative self-proclaimed media watchdog is concerning.
“I believe that this is a political agenda and I feel it is an attack on public education,” O’Brochta said.
The video shows an Upper Arlington administrator and Groveport Madison secretary having discussions related to critical race theory with two people who claimed to be interested in enrolling a student.
Upper Arlington interim Superintendent Kathy Jenney sent the following letter to families Wednesday:
Upper Arlington Schools and the Upper Arlington Board of Education are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and ensuring our schools are places where every student is welcomed, respected, celebrated and supported while receiving the highest quality education. This is a crucial part of ensuring that we live out our mission — to challenge and support every student, every step of the way.
While we remain committed to DEI, critical race theory is not part of the district’s academic program. The district follows the state learning standards and all laws in effect related to public education.
The district is aware of an online video that presents a recording of Matthew Boaz, the executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion. At this point, we know the video was recorded with a hidden camera and under false pretenses by a man and woman who claimed to be interested in enrolling a student. The couple guided the conversation to focus on the topic of critical race theory, which again, is not taught or used in the district.
We take this matter very seriously and continue to examine the circumstances surrounding the video and the statements made therein.Upper Arlington School District
Groveport Madison Schools sent the following statement:
Accuracy in Media’s video grossly and irresponsibly mischaracterized a conversation with a Groveport Madison School District secretary that took place last summer.
The video was taken without the secretary’s knowledge or permission, and the reporter and his colleague misrepresented themselves as new parents moving to the area. The questioner manipulated the conversation in an effort to obtain sound bites fitting AIM’s agenda, then removed those statements from context.
The employee and the school district object to both the deception employed by AIM and to the implied representations of the video in the strongest possible terms. The school district has referred the matter to legal counsel to consider all available options.Groveport Madison Schools
“I think what is scary is it’s that kind of video and that kind of narrative that has no business in deciding what is taught within our public schools,” O’Brochta said.
Upper Arlington is holding a special school board meeting Thursday night, where the only item on the agenda is an executive session.