Concerned Mountain Brook residents attend school board meeting

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 8:51 PM CDT
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MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WBRC) - Dozens of Mountain Brook residents attended a school board meeting Monday afternoon expressing concerns about how diversity will be taught in schools this coming fall.

The school board president started the meeting saying Mountain Brook is a community where people love and care about one another.

she admitted the community is not without its faults but said they would continue trying to get better saying that when students walk through the school doors in four short weeks, she’s hoping they will feel comfortable, loved, and safe.

School Board President, Nicky Barnes, reminded those who attended Monday’s school board meeting that the purpose was to accomplish the posted agenda and that it was not designed to be a public hearing.

But there was time allotted for public comments, and one by one, they came to the podium to discuss a hot button issue: how to teach diversity and inclusion in schools.

“I’m here to affirm the school board’s decision to continue to pursue genuine efforts in the arena of anti-bias training, diversity and inclusion,” said Mountain Brook Parent, Emily Hall.

“Schools have always been at the center of some our country’s most contentious issues and history remembers the roles schools and educators play in either moving the country closer to equality or holding us back,” Hall said.

One former Mountain Brook teacher said this all stems from an incident in May of 2020 when Mountain Brook teens were caught on social media displaying swastikas.

She said that incident had a big impact on the community.

“And people wanted to do something about it,” said Krissie Allen.

“I don’t think anybody was averse to the idea of some kind of…you know…diversity and inclusion program if the school thought that was what it needed to do. Where the problem came in is really when we realized the training was being conducted by the ADL, which for so many parents…by all appearances seems to be a politically motivated organization,” Allen said.

Mountain Brook Schools has since severed ties with ADL and said it will be pursuing a different framework for diversity education.

Shannon Jernigan said she’s all for diversity training in schools but feels politics should be left out of the discussion.

“I hope that we can come to a place more and more as a nation where we can make room for each other to have differences in opinion without villainizing one another or without character assaulting one another…we can have…that’s what America is about we can have different views on public policy and then let’s have a health exchange of ideas and let the best ideas rise to the top,” Jernigan said.

The school board didn’t make any announcements about what framework they will use for diversity and inclusion for the upcoming school year.

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