SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A woman’s decision to file more than 200 public records requests with the South Kingstown School Committee has sparked a conversation regarding race-based education.
Nicole Solas, whose child will be a kindergartener in the district this fall, began filing the requests as the committee was considering whether to add equity and anti-racism education to the curriculum.
Emily Cummiskey, the committee’s chairwoman, claims Solas is part of a “nationally organized, racist group” and filed the requests in an attempt to intimidate the district.
Jim Vincent, president of NAACP Providence, said he was taught the “uncomfortable” parts of history when he was in school back in the 1950s.
“[It’s about] telling the truth of how America started and that it’s rooted in institutional racism and white supremacy via laws,” Vincent explained.
Keith Stokes, vice president of the 1696 Heritage Group, pointed to legislation that’s currently circulating in the R.I. General Assembly.
“A very important element to this is to provide curriculum and units of instructions that are not only comprehensive to the history, but also most importantly are suitable based upon the grade level,” Stokes said.
But state Rep. Patricia Morgan argues it’s a poisonous ideology.
“We can’t change the color of our skin, so let’s find a solution, a real solution,” she said.
Morgan believes the solution is to provide students with the tools to be active members of society, and the focus shouldn’t be on the past.
“It doesn’t give us credit for the progress we’ve made,” Morgan added.
Back in South Kingstown, Solas believes the district is “obsessed with treating students based on their skin color” and should instead focus their attention on treating them all equally.