Parents of students attending Loudoun County Public Schools are being required to sign a form similar to a non-disclosure agreement to view part of a curriculum linked to critical race theory.
LCPS spent about $7,700 to become a licensed member of the Second Step Programs, a branch of Committee for Children, a progressive nonprofit.
The presentation of the material can only be provided in person and parents are required to acknowledge that the viewing of the curriculum is "not a public event" and prohibits "copying, broadcast or recording of any kind."
Portions of the curriculum can be downloaded from LCPS' website.
Second Step pushes lessons on "Social Emotional Learning" from the Committee for Children, which also offers free anti-racism and anti-bias resources. SEL is connected to the core principles of critical race theory.
According to the Committee for Children, SEL is "fundamental to achieving social justice." The nonprofit group also advocates for "diversity, equity, and inclusion," as well as their push to become an "anti-racist organization."
Second Step’s curriculum includes addressing "anti-racism," a term coined by author and activist Ibram X. Kendi, who wrote the book, "How to Be an Antiracist." It also provides a "common language" to "create lasting systematic change."
The district’s agreement with Second Step states that the curriculum is not subject to traditional Virginia Freedom of Information Act laws, according to the Daily Caller.
But a Loudoun County parent told the news outlet that he was skeptical of the NDA-style document being deemed a "terms and conditions" agreement due to copyright laws because a number of other organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, Racial Equity Tools, and Learning for Justice, all provide copyrighted material to the school district without requiring parents to sign a document to view them.
LCPS will require all elementary schools to implement SEL in their classroom by 2022, according to a PowerPoint from the district that includes images that link directly to the Second Step curriculum. The Virginia Department of Education has also been looking to implement SEL into the state-wide curriculum.
Critical race theory, which asserts that white people are oppressors and people of color are oppressed, has become a hot-button issue in Virginia as parents in Loudoun County and across the state show up to school board meetings to voice their opposition to their school districts teaching the controversial doctrine.
The academic framework has even made its way into the governor's race, with Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe claiming it does not exist and stating that he does not believe parents should have a say in what gets taught in schools while GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin looks to ban critical race theory in schools.
"Terry McAuliffe and his allies want to keep parents in the dark and shut them out of schools while they force their radical political agenda into classrooms," Youngkin spokesperson Christian Martinez told Townhall. "McAuliffe pushed Critical Race Theory into Virginia’s education system when he was governor, but Glenn Youngkin will ban it on day one so kids can learn how to think instead of what to think. That’s why Republicans, Independents, and Democrats are coming together in support of Glenn Youngkin for governor."