A Washington school district is planning to cut music classes it believes promote “white supremacy culture” and “significant institutional violence.”
The Olympia School District — which is facing a budget shortfall of $11.5 million — voted last week to eliminate band and strings for fourth-graders in an effort to both save money and fight racism.
School Board Director Scott Clifthorne admitted during the meeting that research proves music classes are “healthy for young minds,” but that they are disproportionately rolled out across the district’s 12 elementary schools.
Students at some campuses are required to miss “core instruction” in order to attend music classes, he said, while some campuses offer longer instrumental class time than others.
“We also know that there are other folks in the community that experience things like a tradition of excellence as exclusionary,” Clifthorne said.
“We’re a school district that lives in and is entrenched in and is surrounded by white supremacy culture. And that’s a real thing.”
The board director told concerned parents that there was nothing “intrinsically white supremacist” about string or instrumental music, but warned that there are ways in which it could contribute to the racist culture.
“The ways in which it is and the ways in which all of our institutions — not just schools, but local government, state government, our churches, our neighborhoods — inculcate and allow white supremacy culture to continue to be propagated and caused significant institutional violence are things that we have to think about carefully as a community,” he said.
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