Family sues WCS over alleged Critical Race Theory law violation

Published: Jul. 9, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) - Parents are suing Williamson County Schools, claiming it is teaching an English curriculum to elementary-age students that violate state law. The parents believe the curriculum is age-inappropriate and racist, while the district disagrees.

Trisha Lucente is a Williamson County Schools parent. “He is 6,” Lucente said. “He just finished kindergarten and will be going into the first grade.”

During kindergarten, Lucente was a class mom. She said she was surprised at some of the materials her son was being taught. “What is in that book,” Lucente said.

The books in question come from the curriculum Wit & Wisdom. The curriculum was created by Great Minds, a D.C.-based nonprofit publisher. Wit & Wisdom is the curriculum Williamson County Schools has been using for K-5 English lessons since fall 2020.

Lucente believes some materials from the curriculum are age-inappropriate. In addition, Lucente claims they violate Tennessee laws on teaching critical race theory. “I was really shocked to see some of the things and saddened because it is not our principals and schools choosing it,” Lucente said. “It is the administrators and the state.”

Now, attorney Larry Crain is representing Lucente and her advocacy group, Parents’ Choice Tennessee, in a lawsuit against the superintendent, school board, and state education commissioner.

“This curriculum encroaches upon that parental right and essentially interferes with their right to instill certain values and teachings,” Crain said.

WSMV 4 reached out to the school district and state department of education. Both told us they do not comment on pending litigation. However, Williamson County Schools did send us a link to their website in which Wit & Wisdom is addressed. It states that curriculum leaders have found no efforts within Wit & Wisdom to teach CRT.

“Some parents have said this content has been wonderful,” Superintendent Jason Golden said in June 2021. “It has triggered interest in my child for reading. In addition, we have found some good discussions at home about the content.”

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that would stop the implementation of the Wit & Wisdom curriculum.

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