Letter – Columnist misled readers

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

John Edwards’ recent piece “IW School Board erases half-century of progress” is deceptive and uninformed.  

He undoubtedly objects to Isle of Wight County Schools Policy INB (Teaching Controversial Issues), which defines a controversial issue as a topic that may be “viewed from starkly differing but valid positions such that people with differing views are unable (or unwilling) to accept the validity of the opposing view.” INB also says teachers will guide “students to think critically without promoting, advancing the idea, or persuading students to presume that controversial topics should be viewed through any particular lens, within an atmosphere that is free from personal bias, prejudice, or coercion.”    

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Edwards appears to find issue with INB’s principle, “There is no systemic racism or bigotry perpetuated by the United States or any governmental entity.” To suggest otherwise implies our government promotes racism to last indefinitely and if that’s how Edwards feels then we’ll have to disagree. INB doesn’t deny the existence of racism or that our history is filled with it; we know it does and those facts aren’t controversial. The point is there is no value in instilling in children that today they are destined to be victimized by racism (or afforded privilege) by the very foundation of our government depending on their skin color.  

Edwards states, as if it were fact, the “School Board majority’s target in all this was originally history.” That’s an untrue and ridiculously unfounded accusation — period. For years the progressive “left” has pushed one-sided political ideologies and (increasingly) the celebration of sexual preferences into schools across our nation. Parents have had enough. 

We are fortunate IWCS has succeeded (with few exceptions) in staying focused on academics because we have great teachers. Yet, according to Edwards, parents “historically fail” in teaching their children about controversial issues. While he may not like it, parents get a voice in what their children are taught!

Edwards infers the School Board majority has mandated that “no one among us has a right to feel oppressed.” Not true. INB states teachers shall not promote the notion that someone is “inherently a victim or oppressed due to their race.” There’s a big difference.  


Jason P. Maresh

Isle of Wight County School Board member

District 4