By Kimberly Brown
At Three Village school district’s board of education meeting Tuesday, one of the agenda items was the Anti-Racism and Social Justice Task Force formed to address diversity, equity and inclusion.
The responsibility of the task force is to work with students, staff and the community to educate, work collaboratively and understand the importance of why a social justice task force, such as their own, is essential.
“Our job in this committee is to recognize our children that walk into our buildings every day and perceive themselves to be not part of the makeup of what could be — and is — a beautiful Three Village school,” said Paul Gold, director of social studies and committee chairperson.
According to Gold, the long-term goal of the task force is to make every child feel included, no matter their race, ethnicity, religion, academic ability, gender or sexuality.
Some parents, as in other school districts, are concerned that the task force applies critical race theory. The academic movement has been criticized for creating divisiveness.
Another concern is that the task force would eventually be consumed by special interest groups.
“I was told there was no CRT in our school district, yet we are hiding it as DEI,” parent Tara Geruso said. “Make no mistake, when you click on the [Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion] link on the Three Village homepage, the resources are all from those who support CRT.”
Several parents such as Shoshana Hershkowitz, who is also a member of the task force, praised Gold for creating “an authentic space” for children to express themselves, as the intention of the task force is to collaborate as a community.
“I have never heard of critical race theory until a few months ago, and I had to Google it as I imagine many people did,” Hershkowitz said. “When I went down that rabbit hole, it never led me to educational websites, it led me to legal ones. So, I want to make the point that this is not a mainstream educational issue.”
Hershkowitz added the CRT debate is a distraction from the real issues that need to be discussed in the district, especially since Long Island is among the top 15 most segregated areas in the country, according to her.
Despite the differences, the parents, task force and board of education plan to work collaboratively to resolve any further issues.