Tuesday 17 May 2022 02:40 PM Single mom of biracial son, 13, sues his school over anti-racist curriculum trends now
A single mother of a biracial son is suing his school over its 'anti-racism' CRT-style program, saying he now sees things that don't go his way as racism.
Melissa Riley, from Charlottesville in Virginia, said that her 13-year-old boy never saw himself as different to other students until the Albemarle School District introduced an 'anti-racism' program to his middle school last spring.
Speaking to Fox News, she said it was then that he began thinking in terms of race.
'We didn't have issues before. He is in eighth grade,' Riley told Fox News host Jesse Watters on Monday evening. 'He's seeing himself just as a Black man. He's seeing things that don't go his way as racism. And he is finding safety in numbers now.'
Riley said that her teenage son started to accuse her and others of racism as a way to get out of doing chores and other responsibilities. In one example, she said he once accused her of being racist when she asked him to clean the house.
Melissa Riley, from Charlottesville in Virginia (pictured speaking to Fox News on Monday) said that her 13-year-old boy never saw himself as different to other students until the Albemarle School District introduced an 'anti-racism' program to his middle school last spring
'They have totally changed his perspective. They have put him in a box,' she said of the curriculum at Henley Middle School in Crozet, Virginia.
She told the news channel that her son is using racism 'as an excuse because they have told him that that's how people see him, as a Black man, that the world is against and [he] sees it as a negative now.'
When she confronted the school over the issue, Riley said the school told her that her son could be a 'Black spokesman for the Black community' in the school.
The mother said when she pushed back, telling school officials she did not feel that would be appropriate for her son, she was told 'he and other children of color could go to a safe place during these conversations.'
This, she argued, would be 'segregation'.
In July 2021, it was reported by the Crozet Gazette that Henley Middle School's anti-racism curriculum was dividing opinions among teachers and parents.
The local news outlet reported that the curriculum was called 'Courageous Conversations About Race' [CCAR], and was launched over several weeks in May and June last year - covering four units on identity, community, bias, discrimination, and social justice. These all had an emphasis on anti-racism.
The Crozet gazette said the introduction of the curriculum had divided opinion, with some parents saying CCAR bore similarities to the divisive Critical Race Theory (CRT) - that teaches the idea that racism is fundamentally embedded in American political and social institutions.
Parents across the country have attended school board meetings in their droves to protest against the introduction CRT in their children's schools, arguing that such teaching only serves to stoke divisions further.
According to the New York Post, Riley and her son are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in December by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) against the Albemarle County School Board over its program.
While the Albemarle County School Board does not call the program 'CRT' (instead using CCAR), CRT still underpins and informs anti-racism training and teaching programs in schools.
The ADF is a nonprofit conservative legal firm, and is arguing that the district's anti-racism policy violates Virginia's constitution and parental rights.
The New York Post reported that the ADF's lawsuit was dismissed last month by a circuit court judge, who did not object to the district's policy.
Albemarle Circuit Judge Claude Worrell II declared there was 'nothing inherently evil or wrong' about the anti-racism policy.
Lawyers for the ADF have said they would appeal the ruling, with Ryan Bangert, senior counsel with the ADF, saying they were