A large Washington school district has nixed music classes for fourth-grade students after a school board member compared teaching kids to play instruments with racism, asserting that musical instruction can “perpetuate and enable white supremacy culture to persist and result in significant institutional harm.”
The remarks came from school board director Scott Clifthorne amidst conversations surrounding a need for the school to cut spending.
If the fourth and fith grade orchestra and bands were axed, it would reportedly save the school district $530,000.
“We’re a school district that lives in … is entrenched in … is surrounded by white supremacy culture. And that’s a real thing,” Clifthorne told parents, according to The Daily Wire.
“There’s nothing about strings or wind instrumental music that is intrinsically white supremacist,” he clarified. “However, the ways in which it is and the ways in which all of our institutions, not just schools — local government, state government, churches or neighborhoods — inculcate and allow white supremacy culture to continue to be propagated and cause significant institutional violence are things that we have to think about carefully as a community.”
A video allegedly showing Clifthorne’s remarks was shared on Twitter, with credit given to radio host Jason Rantz.
A Washington state school board member slashes music classes because they're “white supremacy” culture that causes "institutional violence.”
People preaching such nonsense should be in an institution, not making decisions for our kids.
— Frank DeScushin (@FrankDeScushin) April 25, 2023
Alesha Perkins, who according to Fox News is a mother of three students who attend school in the district, blasted the “absurdity” of the whole thing.
“We have reached a level of absurdity in our school district, among our school board and our leadership that is just hard to ignore at this point,” she said, adding that the move was “par for the course” for the board.
“The issue is we are having such a catastrophic budget crisis right now that they’re having to cut programs,” she explained. “And so what has happened is this program has been deemed ‘inequitable.’ And in a previous comment, the director of elementary education stated that not only is this program ‘inequitable,’ but when she heard the word ‘tradition of excellence,’ which was used to describe our music programs, she said that the word ‘tradition’ actually translated to her to mean systemic discrimination.”
“We are losing students in huge numbers. I’m not talking about a handful of students,” Perkins claimed. “I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of students that are exiting the district, and they are virtually all citing these reasons. You cannot sustain a school district with a mass exodus of students.”
Fox News reported that the school district’s website indicates there will be two more board meetings held before May 15 to discuss the budget for the next year.