Salvo 11.02.2023 3 minutes

Outlaw BLM in Schools


American school districts ought to ban the promotion of terrorism in the classroom.

Oklahoma school superintendent Ryan Walters recently issued a statement in solidarity with Israel. Education Week reporter Evie Blad commented—correctly—that this was extremely unusual for an American education leader. It is common for education leaders to issue statements supporting the latest left-wing talking point in the news cycle, but Walters stood virtually alone in his profession of support for Israel.

One part of Walters’s statement deserves sustained reflection and should be a call to action for any education leader with an ounce of moral fiber. He declared that he would “take a fresh look at standards to ensure Oklahoma schools do not teach terrorism as a legitimate means to political ends.” Now, it is unlikely that Oklahoma’s state academic standards currently allow this. But do many, or any, American schools really teach that violence is an appropriate form of political activity?

Absolutely. Have you heard of Black Lives Matter?

During the George Floyd riots and the spasms of self-recrimination that sent the American Left into a state abjection and guilt, school district after school district issued statements in solidarity with BLM, adapted BLM curriculum, and organized BLM weeks of action. Conservatives tried to sound the alarm. We pointed out that this organization was founded by self-declared “trained Marxists.” We pointed out that it sought the dismantling of the nuclear family. We pointed out that it promoted advocates of terrorism like Angela Davis, who bought the guns that were used in an infamous courthouse massacre in 1970.

“Oh,” said education leaders. “But we think that black lives matter. Do you not think that black lives matter? What are you, a racist?”

Maybe, just maybe, the education establishment will have a moment of moral clarity now that Black Lives Matter groups have endorsed Hamas’s war crimes against Israel. Earlier this week, BLM at School issued a statement explicitly endorsing the atrocities, and declaring that American schools should promote such terrorism: “Palestinians are reminding us that decolonization is not a metaphor or abstraction, but requires real, daily struggle. Education should be wielded in service of struggle.”

Will the American education establishment rethink its support for an organization that endorses the indiscriminate slaughter of concertgoers, the kidnapping and rape of women, and the murder of babies? Or will they be unwilling to do so, for fear of someone calling them racist?

More likely than not, the fear of being called a racist will override such compunctions. The acceptance and promotion of BLM/CRT/DEI ideology has created a new moral culture, the first commandment of which reads: “Thou shalt not disagree with BIPOCs spouting left-wing political opinions.”

American schools should not endorse or promote the teachings of organizations that endorse and promote terrorism. But we should not trust school leaders to reverse course of their own volition. Earlier state legislative efforts to push back against this new moral culture were overbroad and ineffective. Red states passed laws saying that educators couldn’t inculcate collective racial guilt or tell students that some races were inherently morally superior to others. And the education establishment howled and found ways around it.

States should pass laws explicitly prohibiting public schools from promoting materials from—or posting the flag of—the Black Lives Matter movement. Every school district leader—or chief diversity officer—that issued statements in solidarity with BLM should be required to publish a statement repudiating the organization and on the grounds of its defense of the slaughter of civilians, the rape of women, and the murder of babies. There is no “free speech” concern here. School employee speech is government speech. In too many communities, the American government has endorsed an organization that endorses terrorism. That should not be allowed to stand and must not be allowed to continue.

Such a proposal would, unfortunately, be virtually unthinkable in any blue state. But red states should push forward, and people can choose whether or not to live in communities with schools that signal support for the slaughter of civilians.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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