During a September meeting held on Tuesday, the Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1 Board of Education in Colorado passed the "Resolution Opposing Principles of Critical Race Theory" and established a committee tasked to review school curriculum and remove "embedded" lessons on critical race theory.
Only one board member who was present at the vote opposed the motion. The other board member who opposed banning critical race theory in the classroom was not on hand to express his dissent through the vote.
According to The Journal, John Schuenemeyer was the only board member present who was in opposition. Chris Flaherty, who also disagreed with the decision, was not in attendance. However, both Schuenemeyer and Flaherty announced earlier on Thursday that they resigned from their positions as board members. The two admitted to speaking to district teachers about critical race theory.
"They perceive it as an effort to remove anything in teaching materials that portrays Indigenous people and other non-Caucasians in a favorable light," Schuenemeyer claimed. He said during the meeting, "Almost 50% of our kids in this district are non-white - are you telling them that race doesn't matter?" Schuenemeyer believes that the resolution banning critical race theory would eliminate diversity in schools and added that it was a waste of time and money.
Board member Sheri Noyes came to the defense of the resolution, explaining that they were "not trying to get rid of any culture, diversity... it is completely just the racism part." She added that nobody should blame anyone or apologize about what happened in the past. Board member Sherri Wright added that the resolution banning critical race theory would not erase history from the school curriculum.
In a separate report from The Journal, Schuenemeyer explained his decision to quit his post as a board member, saying that he was "really unhappy" with the decision making process of the board and that he "just couldn't effectively serve anymore." Both Schuenemeyer and Flaherty said they disagreed with the school district's stance on critical race theory and COVID restrictions.
"They're digging their own hole," Flaherty said. "I don't want any part of it."
Back in August, the Colorado school district board voted 5 to 2 not to mandate masks for students who are going back to school. Schuenemeyer expressed disapproval and admitted to receiving the mail. He argued that volunteers like himself should be able to serve and disagree with colleagues without having to receive hate mail.
"Being a scientist, I would like to be able to have people have rational intelligent discussions and disagree," Schuenemeyer argued. ""But over the last two or three months, the whole situation has gotten pretty ugly."
The district has seen the highest number of COVID cases so far in this school year, reporting that for the first time, students were infecting others in their campus. An outbreak was recorded in one of the sixth grade classrooms, with nine students testing positive and up to 74 students placed under quarantine.