Critical Race Theory Raises Community Ire at Carmel Board of Ed Meeting 

At a public meeting last week, topping the Carmel Board of Education agenda was the revised budget after the district’s proposed budget of $133,581,366 for the 2021-2022 school year was defeated in May. 

Preceding the formal budget review, the board held an open session which ran an hour and 45 minutes, allowing many district residents to express a wide array of polarized views from decrying mask wearing to wasting taxpayer’s money. The room was full, and a line stretched back from the microphone.

Among the accusations: how the district wasted taxpayer money by raising taxes to overpay educators and staff, a demand to reimburse alleged undisclosed district funds to taxpayers with monies assumed saved during the pandemic. With a full house, many jeered and held up their fists, others applauded loudly.

Although Board President Michelle Yorio opened the public comment session stating that critical race theory was not part of the school curriculum, many were there to voice their opposition to critical race theory under the assumption that it was already being taught in the schools. Critical race theory has been around for decades, with advocates citing its design to promote understanding of inequality and institutional racism in the United States. 

Tatiyana Ibrahim, a Carmel School District parent who has vehemently criticized the district for “emotionally abusing” students by teaching critical race theory and what she claimed were communist values, recently made national headlines with her lambasting of the district. Others have joined her crusade of accusing Carmel educators of promoting Black Lives matter, LGBTQ equity and anti-police ideologies.

Cheering Ibrahim’s position was Dylan Guarducci, a 2015 Carmel High School alumni. “Do you oppose critical race theory?” he stated, receiving a hefty round of applause. “Critical race theory has crept into our schools. I heard the librarians around here — I heard you guys were giving out some Black Lives Matter pins. Black Lives Matter is a Marxist, domestic terrorist group.”
 
Interspersed with the critics were those who supported the board and the district. Many Carmel High School students praised the board and their teachers, voicing support for the district and dismissing claims of bias in the schools.
 
“None of what you are saying is true and what people were claiming is happening in the schools is not happening,” said Carmel High School sophomore Karen Medina. “Not once in my time at Carmel High School have I been told to go out and murder police officers. The resource officers in our school are respected.”
 
Deirdre Miles of Patterson urged the audience to read literature that reflects lives of blacks, books that she said are in the school library. She recalled what it was like being the only black student in her high school classroom.
 
“If you want to come together as a community, it starts here,” Miles said.
 
By the time the board ended the public comment session, most residents had left leaving a handful of people to hear and comment on the revised budget.
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