Johnston County parents protest critical race theory; school system says it is not being taught

JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some Johnston County parents spent Tuesday afternoon demonstrating in support of County Commissioner Fred Smith's proposal to ban critical race theory from being taught in classrooms.

"CRT teaches that one group oppresses another group of people and white people are bad and people of color are being oppressed and really don't have the same opportunities but we want equality," said Dale Lands, an organizer.

As many demonstrators lined up to voice their concerns about how children are being taught, some say the outrage is unjustified.

Critical race theory: What is it, and why are Republicans upset?

"If this is the first time you have ever been outraged then you really need to ask yourself why? Our children deserve a full history of our country and the world," said April Lee, a Johnston County teacher.

Lee and a dozen others showed up to support a fair and truthful look at the nation's history.

Indoctrination or distraction?: NC joins the battle over Critical Race Theory

"Our painful past, it's a part of who we are and what has made us as a country. Even though sometimes it's difficult," Lee said.

"Critical race theory in its most fundamental way is not being taught K-12," said Dr. Deborah Stroman, a UNC professor who focuses on racial equity. "I would say that we all need to breathe. And think about the why. If you have a group of people, a collective who have been underserved, been in harm's way, who have been oppressed, who when you look at the outcomes in all of our systems are not doing that well, why would we want white people to feel guilt. Why would we want people to be white people to be fearful, why would we want people to go in white people to go into a shame mentality, that makes no sense."

Johnston County Schools told ABC11 critical race theory is not being taught and teachers only use standards approved by the State Board of Education.

Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.