As leaders in Worthington City Schools, we are unified in opposition to HB 616, which seeks to impair our ability to fully embrace, support and affirm all students. This bill is in alignment with other bills that are appearing across the country. At its core, this bill, in an unprecedented way, seeks to regulate curriculum and instruction and is an unjustified attack on local control. This bill encourages an environment of exclusion and intolerance and has no place in public education.
Ohio’s HB 616 goes a step further than the recent legislation passed in Florida. Not only does the bill devalue our minority and LGBTQIA+ students and communities, but HB 616 also aims to suppress dialogue and perpetuate an inaccurate understanding of our history.
To be clear, Critical Race Theory is not taught in Worthington Schools or anywhere in Ohio’s K-12 education system. History and Social Studies courses are aligned to the Ohio Learning Standards, and CRT is not a part of that curriculum. We teach U.S. History and the understanding of oneself as part of a community, so students of all backgrounds feel seen, heard, and valued in their learning and understanding of all curriculum. As a public school district, it is our responsibility to provide a comprehensive and honest depiction of our history in an open, supportive, culturally responsive, and psychologically safe environment for ALL students to learn and grow.
Worthington is a school district that is deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. Thirty-two percent of Worthington students are students of color, and 1,500 Worthington students come from multi-lingual homes where English is not their first language. We want every student and family to know that we “see” them and we “value” them.
Our mission of “empowering a community of learners who will change the world,” guides us in our resolve of being a school district that intentionally creates environments where students and staff can learn, work and live with dignity, respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity/expression or sexual orientation.
We implore our state legislators to not only vote this bill and others like it down but to vocally speak up against the divisiveness they cause to the students of Ohio. We also ask all other educational institutions, government bodies, students, families, non-profits, businesses, and the community to stand with us and speak out against this proposed limitation of a foundational principle of democracy — education.
Trent H. Bowers, Ed.D. Superintendent Worthington Schools
Amy Lloyd, President Worthington Board of Education
Charlie Wilson, Vice President Worthington Board of Education
Jennifer Best, Worthington Board of Education
Kelli Davis, Worthington Board of Education
Nikki Hudson, Worthington Board of Education
Brian Morgan, President of the Worthington Education Association