HomeBensalem TimesNAACP Bucks County condemns Pennridge decision on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

NAACP Bucks County condemns Pennridge decision on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

President Karen Downer said it’s clear that ‘right now, only white children are welcome in Pennridge’

The Pennridge school board recently voted 6-1 to pause its initiatives regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, something that has been a hot button topic at meetings across the country. Many parents fear their children will learn Critical Race Theory, which teaches that racism is embedded in our society.

Pennridge’s board vice president Joan Cullen stated how she doesn’t believe in systemic racism, homophobia or sexism, and was appointed to a new committee to draft an alternative for addressing diversity in the school district.

On the heels of the vote, Karen Downer, president of the NAACP Bucks County, headquartered in Bensalem, released the following statement:

“The NAACP Bucks County branch strongly condemns the recent Pennridge school board decision to scrap a thoughtful and well-reasoned diversity, equity and inclusion plan designed by education professionals in favor of an ad-hoc committee that includes an angry DEI opponent and other members who voted against the district’s DEI plans.

“School board member Joan Cullen, who was appointed to the new committee, has publicly stated that she does not believe there is any systemic racism in our country. Her appointment is a slap in the face to children of color who attend Pennridge schools and their tax-paying parents, who deserve an inclusive school that celebrates and encourages all children. Today, because of the school board decision, schools throughout the Pennridge district are already pulling all references to diversity from their websites, their classrooms and their curricula. It is clear that, right now, only white children are welcome in Pennridge.

“Our children are growing up in an increasingly diverse country. America’s future depends on their ability to work together productively, to respect each other, and to thrive as one America. Our children need to learn the real facts of America’s history so they can understand where we have been and how people of all races came together throughout our history to create a more perfect union. Unfortunately, the Pennridge school board has established a committee that is designed to do just the opposite. We do not believe that these school board members have the knowledge, experience, or desire to develop a diverse plan that could begin to equal the one Pennridge developed through educational professionals, and which is now being destroyed.

“The NAACP Bucks County joins the ADL in: denouncing the decision to replace the district’s original DEI committee with one partially overseen by a board member who has publicly displayed a lack of understanding regarding how racism and other forms of oppression function; calling on the school board to immediately and in good faith reinstate DEI efforts and education across the Pennridge School District.

“We are requesting an immediate meeting with the Superintendent to discuss the current freeze on DEI initiatives. The NAACP Bucks County will stand with the parents and children of Pennridge who believe all students should have the opportunity to thrive and to live up to our nation’s founding principles of liberty and justice for all.”

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