Scottsdale Unified to hold board meeting online after last week's chaos

The Scottsdale Unified School District is holding its last board meeting of the school year virtually on May 24 after a disruptive crowd brought it to a halt last week.

The board pleaded with the group to put masks on, but some people in the group said their main concern was critical race theory being taught in schools.

Critical race theory is a long taught course examining how racism may have impacted various elements of life, like the legal or education systems.

SUSD board president Jann-Michael Greenburg says it’s never been considered for SUSD classrooms.

"[The] SUSD administration has never presented to the governing board any proposal about implementing critical race theory in our schools or radical changes or departures from what we’ve been doing," said Greenburg. "What we are doing is focusing on culturally responsive learning - that is very different."

A press release from one of the parental groups involved, Arizona Parents Rights in Education, opposed the idea of "culturally responsive learning."

"Scottsdale parents want transparency, mask and vaccines optional...before blasting (SEL) Social Emotional Learning and a politically charged curriculum that aligns with CRT."

Earlier meeting addresses ‘misinformation’ about what happened

On May 21, officials with the Scottsdale Unified School District held a news conference to address concerns surrounding a school board meeting that descended into chaos.

"There were a lot of parents there, and a lot of parents weren’t wanting to wear the masks and put them on. But it was not about the masks, more it was about standing up for parent's rights," said Amy Carney with Arizona Parents Rights and Education. "We wouldn't have had this issue if our mask mandate had been lifted in Scottsdale Unified as well, so a lot of parents, I think, were pushing back on that."

School District Superintendent Scott Menzell called the meeting to address what he called misinformation about what happened.

According to Scottsdale Police Chief Jeff Walther, the department has been monitoring ‘chatter’ about the meeting online.

"We saw some of the same folks on the 18th at the SUSD Board meeting that they saw in Peoria, that they saw elsewhere. Same names, same faces, gathering supporters or followers to participate in the meeting that are not connected to Scottsdale," said Chief Walther.

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