Sups make right call on Hardy

Published 6:02 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Thank goodness that cooler heads prevailed last week with Isle of Wight supervisors’ approval of a more expensive Hardy Elementary School.

The project’s fate was in doubt for a couple of weeks after a couple of supervisors hinted that they might block the project because of citizen concerns about the equity and inclusion movement in Isle of Wight County Schools.

The Windsor District’s Joel Acree and Carrsville District’s Don Rosie — or at least, their constituents — apparently were so mad at Superintendent Jim Thornton, the School Board and the school division’s new equity and inclusion director that they were prepared to punish the hundreds of children who will benefit from the new Hardy school.

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By the time supervisors got back together last week, there was no mention of such a revenge tactic, and Acree and Rosie were part of a unanimous vote for a new maximum price of $36 million to build the new school.

We share parental concerns that the schools’ equity push might be going too far, even though we, unlike the school division’s harshest critics, believe IWCS administrators and board members are well-intentioned in wanting a level playing field for students of all races. Opposition to Critical Race Theory and other controversial tenets of the nationwide equity movement is taking the proper forms — in citizen comments at School Board meetings and in the 2021 election, where voters in two districts will be able to express their displeasure with the current board’s actions.

County supervisors should stay out of the way and let those democratic processes play out. To have used a new school building as leverage in a political tug of war over Critical Race Theory would have been a huge disservice to teachers, parents and children who simply want a modern, safe building in which to learn.

We commend Acree and Rosie for backing down — and the entire Board of Supervisors for its important investment in public education.