Maryland's Montgomery County Public School District aims to make anti-racism a major component of its schools by adopting a "culturally responsive Prekindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum that promotes equity, respect, anti-racist thinking, and civility," according to the district's "tentative action policy."
The tentative policy follows a $450,000 "anti-racist audit" conducted by Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium.
The district has modified the definitions of the terms "racist" and "discrimination" to help it achieve its goals. Although discrimination typically means "prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment," according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the district now says it "also includes conduct or practices that may be facially neutral but that have an unjustified disparate impact based on individuals' actual or perceived personal characteristics. Discrimination encompasses racism, sexism, and any other form of institutional prejudice in all their manifestations."
Similarly, while the Merriam-Webster definition of racism defines it as "a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race," the district says it "means the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another."
The policy also prohibits images, displays, symbols or language that could "promote hate."
Montgomery County Public School District is one of the nation's largest.