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Mountain Brook city council plans to take questions from the public on diversity training in schools

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 8:15 PM CDT
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MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WBRC) - Some residents of Mountain Brook are expressing concerns about some hot button issues, one of which involves how diversity could be taught in schools.

The group is planning to take those concerns to a city council meeting Monday night.

WBRC spoke to a founding board member of MB Listens, a non-partisan, non-profit organization with a mission to make Mountain Brook more inclusive.

He said a small but vocal group of Mountain Brook residents is pressuring Mountain Brook Schools to do away with a “No Place for Hate” program designed by the Anti-Defamation League.

The Mountain Brook City Council will answer questions at a meeting Monday night in response to concerns stemming from the June 14 city council meeting.

During that meeting, some living in Mountain Brook expressed concerns about ADL’s No Place for Hate Program.

“Late this spring, the Mountain Brook School System adopted a strategic plan including goal number 4, which is a goal that honors diversity and commits to put in place structures that will ensure that everyone in the Mountain Brook School System is treated with dignity and respect.”

Frank McPhillips with MB Listens said opponents of the program believe ADL promotes views like Critical Race Theory and other controversial topics.

McPhillips said there are certainly other organizations that offer diversity training, but he said members of the ADL are experts.

“They were charged with helping to train Mountain Brook staff and faculty on issues of hate and how to deal with hate. They’re experts on it. Well, this small vocal minority complained about that and at least temporarily…well temporarily or permanently, we don’t know yet, may get the school board to severe their partnership with the Anti-Defamation League. I think that’s a mistake,” McPhillips said.

One parent we spoke to, who did not want to be identified, said she’s all for teaching diversity and inclusion in schools, but she feels the ADL program is politically slanted.

“Where I stand is ADL has just become an organization that, while I do not want discrimination, I want equality for all, the ADL has become a political organization and I read the 56-page curriculum. So, when I look at what they’ve published, it’s incredibly political and it’s incredibly…there’s just a lot of red flags.”

We received a statement from Mountain Brook Schools saying in part that the discord surrounding the resources from ADL has become a significant distraction, and that MBS has opted to develop its own framework to address its goal of honoring diversity with the involvement of students, parents, teachers, and administrators at the local schools.

You can read the entire statement from Mountain Brook Schools below:

In 2017, Mountain Brook Schools (MBS) developed a strategic plan with four goals. One goal is to “develop structures to ensure that the school district honors diversity and that all who are associated with the school district are treated with respect.” We believe our community stands behind this worthy goal.

The MBS Diversity Committee made recommendations including consideration of local and national organizations as potential resources; one of which was the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL’s employee anti-bias training and No Place for HateⓇ  program were initially selected because of their flexibility in allowing local customization.

Some members of our community voiced concerns about information on the ADL’s website not related to our anti-bias training or framework. The discord surrounding the resources has become a significant distraction, and we believe that we can more effectively continue our work independently of the ADL.

MBS has opted to develop its own framework to address our goal of honoring diversity with the involvement of students, parents, teachers, and administrators at the local schools.

For more information and resources visit our website: https://www.mtnbrook.k12.al.us/Page/21672

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