Debate took place Monday night as the Little Elm ISD Board of Trustees discussed the prospect of removing two ethnic studies course electives from its 2022-23 class catalog.
This action was ultimately withdrawn by its presenter, Trustee DeLeon English, almost two hours after it entered discussion, but disagreement regarding the inclusion of African American studies and Mexican American studies courses has all but dissipated.
Before the board deliberated amongst itself on the matter, district parents and residents gave public comment to express approval and disapproval alike. Proponents of English’s agenda item argued that these classes would encourage division and fragment American demographics that should be unified, while opponents contended that the courses would allow students to see American history from the lens of historically marginalized people.
“I don’t care what race, color, creed you are from; you should not be looked at as an individual who is a victim, or someone who should be looked down upon,” English said following public comment. “I do not, and I will always fight against that. Period.”
Still, English said he felt conflicted on the issue, adding, “I see people in the crowd who want to have it and who don’t want to have it; who think this will help, who think it won’t help. And it’s hard.”
English made an amended motion to table the item while insisting that he would request that the district look into the possibility of “a multicultural course.”
Trustee Monique Thompson criticized this motion.
“I totally disagree with pulling and tabling it,” she said. “That’s putting you in this position of dangling this removal of a course [when] you don’t like what you see. We have a full curriculum department. We don’t make up things. We’re following the state law.”
Following discussion regarding state law on teaching “critical race theory” and drafting curricula, English and Thompson joined President David Montemayor and Trustee Dan Blackwood in withdrawing the proposed item from the agenda. Trustees Alex Flores and Melissa Myers cast dissenting votes. Vice President Jason Olsen was not present at the meeting.