Teacher Loses Job After Assigning 'How Racially Privileged Are You?' Paper

A teacher in Missouri has lost her job after being accused of using critical race theory (CRT) in the classroom.

The local school board recently voted to not renew the contract of Kim Morrison, an English teacher at Greenfield High School, according to the Springfield News-Leader. The move was reportedly made after parents became upset about a worksheet, "How Racially Privileged Are You?," that Morrison passed out and assigned to students. The worksheet was to accompany the book Dear Martin.

Morrison explained the point of the worksheet "was to prepare students for the conversation that was going to happen between two characters that we were about to read," according to the News-Leader.

Following complaints from parents about the worksheet, Morrison was called to the school principal's office in February.

Empty NYC Classroom
A teacher in Missouri lost her job following complaints about a worksheet she was using in the classroom as the students were reading a book. Above, an empty classroom in New York City on August 18, 2021. Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

The school's principal, reportedly, then questioned Morrison about what she was hearing from parents and asked her if the worksheet was in fact CRT.

Morrison said that she told the principal that she was discussing racism but that it couldn't be CRT because she wasn't familiar with CRT.

"I said, 'Well, it's not CRT. I don't know what CRT is because I didn't go to law school and we didn't cover it in grad school. This isn't it.' I said discussing racism is not CRT, and she said she understood but that this is what she is hearing," Morrison told the News-Leader.

Morrison was again called to the principal's office in the middle of March. She told the News-Leader that the principal said they were continuing to get complaints about the worksheet. After this meeting, Morrison met with the district's Superintendent Chris Kell—a meeting Morrison reportedly requested.

At the beginning of the meeting, Kell told Morrison that he was unsure if she would be brought back for the next school year.

Ultimately, the board decided, allegedly in a closed session, not to bring back Morrison for the next school year. In a letter from the superintendent to Morrison, the News-Leader reported, that the worksheet was the reason for her job loss. The letter stated: "Your decision to incorporate the worksheet associated with the novel 'Dear Martin,' due to the content and subject matter."

Morrison said that she was never asked by the board about the worksheet or the complaints by parents concerning CRT.

The board's vote to not bring back Morrison was not unanimous, according to the News-Leader. Also, Kell told the outlet that both he and the high school's principal were in favor of bringing Morrison back.

The board's decision on Morrison, who was up for tenure this year, appears to be final, according to Kell.

"I would think at this point it is a done deal. It was a board vote," he told the News-Leader. "They are the ones that do the hiring, the non-renewals. It was their vote."

Kendall Thomas, a Columbia University law professor, said to Newsweek that CRT "tracks the ways in which the 'color-blind racism' of today's post–civil rights era entrenches racial disparities, discrimination and disadvantage among Black, brown and Native American communities without ever explicitly using the language of 'race.'"

Additionally, CRT, according to Thomas, "challenges us to see that racial injustice in America is not, and has never been, just a problem of isolated instances of individual bias and private prejudice which we can solve by enacting 'color-blind' laws and policies."

Newsweek reached out to the school for comment and was told the school does not have someone who handles media. Additionally, the school stated the school board meets monthly and members are not employed by the school and so no one from the board was available for comment.

In an email to Newsweek, the district's superintendent sent the following response: "Due to this being a personnel matter, I can not provide any additional information."