Area faith leaders urge dialogue to strengthen schools after RPS board meeting | KAALTV.com

Area faith leaders urge dialogue to strengthen schools after RPS board meeting

Emily Pofahl
Updated: July 21, 2021 11:25 PM
Created: July 21, 2021 05:32 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Rochester area faith leaders urging community members to participate in respectful dialogue and to strengthen our schools and community after a contentious Rochester Public School Board meeting.

Over two dozen faith leaders signed a letter posted on the Isaiah website condemning the fear and aggression expressed by a portion of the public at the RPS school board meeting on July 13

"It was an affront to Christian faith really," Pastor Jason Bryan-Wegner of Zumbro Community Church said. 

Pastor Jason Bryan-Wegner is one of the 29 local faith leaders who signed a statement opposing the actions of community members at last week's Rochester school board meeting- a meeting that exploded into confrontation.

"And one last question...If your bathroom mirror showed your character instead of your reflection could you admire yourselves? Or would you be so ashamed you had to look away?" one concerned resident said at the meeting. 

People showed up to speak out against adding critical race theory to K-12 curriculum. The group shouted their beliefs at the board and claimed that their children were being indoctrinated. But critical race theory was never on the school board's agenda and the new superintendent claims it was never even considered as an option for the district. 

That's what lead this mix of pastors, reverends and imams to release their statement. 

"I think it will provide a platform for us to be in conversation," Bryan-Wegner said.  

The statement acknowledges that critical race theory is taught in law and graduate school and claims the meeting was fueled by aggression and misinformation. They encourage children to think critically about history and how they can make the country a more equitable place. 

"Can we name some hard things? Can we talk about race as it pertains to our community in a way that helps us build a community for everyone? I don't know if we can do that but I guess I wanna try," Bryan-Wegner said. 

He hopes that the statement will encourage his congregation to have civil conversations about their differences.

To read the complete letter, click here.

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Area faith leaders urge dialogue to strengthen schools after RPS board meeting | Area faith leaders urge dialogue to strengthen schools after RPS board meeting |

(ABC 6 News) - Rochester area faith leaders urging community members to participate in respectful dialogue and to strengthen our schools and community after a contentious Rochester Public School Board meeting.

Over two dozen faith leaders signed a letter posted on the Isaiah website condemning the fear and aggression expressed by a portion of the public at the RPS school board meeting on July 13

In the letter, clergy members said they were especially dismayed that the "Lord’s Prayer became a weapon", rather than the teaching of Jesus in the gospel according to Matthew. 

RELATED: VIDEO: In-depth with RPS interim superintendent

During the RPS board meeting, public comment period several community members spoke about critical race theory and whether or not it should be taught in the classroom.

The letter continues, "In particular, the crowd expressed fear and misinformation about critical race theory. Critical race theory is an understanding that who we are, the laws we have in place, the histories that have been handed down to us, have been shaped by race. It’s taught in law school and graduate school to adults. In our public schools, our kids deserve age-appropriate and accurate history lessons, helping them become the critical thinkers we need to make this a more just, prosperous, and equitable country." 

RELATED: Critical race theory controversy

To read the complete letter, click here.


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