Virginia police are investigating an 'anti-racist' Facebook group that named the parents of students who members say are 'against critical race theory'.
The Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County group - which reportedly includes teachers and school board members - shared personal details of those they say had opposed moves to teach the controversial curriculum.
It urged followers to 'gather information' on them and encouraged online hackers to silence critics of the theory, The Daily Wire reports. Parent Cherly Onderchain told Fox News she was on the 'hit list', adding: 'Their goal is silence.'
According to Purdue University, critical race theory scholarship shows how racism continues to be persuasive and why it denies individuals their constitutional rights. It examines the way race and racism influences politics, culture and the law.
But critics say it leaves people exposed to the training feeling that they are being blamed for problems which they did not cause - such as slavery and Jim Crow - and that it is itself racially divisive.
Local teacher Jeremy Wright said: 'Minority students are going to suffer the most from this. When you teach students that the system is against them, they have no motivation to learn.'
Parent Cherly Onderchain told Fox News she was on the 'hit list', adding: 'Their goal is silence'
The Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County group shared personal details of those they say had opposed moves to teach the controversial curriculum. It urged followers to 'gather information' and silence critics of the theory
One parent on the list, Patti Menders, said: 'I was personally attacked. My name, my first name, my last name, where my son goes to school, who my husband is, where I live and three pictures of me were all on that Facebook page.
'They wanted to send postcards to our neighbors calling us racist and come to our home with a megaphone and call us racists.'
Another parent, Erin Dunbar, added: 'Those of you who saw personal information about families in this county being posted and did nothing, shame on you.'
Loudoun Parents for Education spokesman Ian Prior told WTOP: 'There was a solicitation by one of the members of this group to target people that had opposed the school's commitment to critical race theory concepts.'
He added: 'Members were conspiring to commit potentially illegal actions against members of the community for exercising their First Amendment rights to speak out against the curriculum and for opening schools.'
Any inclusion of what is broadly known as 'critical race theory' in schooling is controversial.
Broadly, critical race theory says that white supremacy is an ideology which is baked into the structures of society and particularly the law - and that to deal with everyone who is white should acknowledge how they have benefited from it, or become 'privileged.'
But critics say that it leaves people exposed to the training feeling that they are being blamed for problems which they did not cause - such as slavery and Jim Crow - and that it is itself racially divisive.
Critics - such as the conservative Heritage Foundation - also say it ignores the problems poor white communities face such as - for example - opioid addiction and long-term joblessness in the Appalachians and the rust belt.
And they say it backfires by creating identity groups rather than envisioning the U.S. as a melting point where race should not matter.
The Heritage Foundation has also pointed to how employees at CRT courses are pushed to become activists, and pushed to admit their own 'guilt' in front of their colleagues - to the shame and embarrassment of some who do.
Far from uniting workplaces, critics claim, it divides them further.
In a Facebook post obtained by The Daily Wire one mother, identified as Jen Durham, wrote: 'This is a call for volunteers to combat the anti-CRT activities.'
She asked members to 'gather information' and 'infiltrate these groups'.
The post instructed: 'Create fake online profiles and join these groups to collect and communicate information, hackers who can either shut down their websites or redirect them to pro-CRT/anti-racist informational webpages.'
Others in the group encouraged people to share addresses and social media.
Hilary Hultman-Lee, who has been identified as a former teacher, said: 'Regarding the anti-CRT movement, we'd like to compile a document of all known actors and supporters.
'Please comment below with legal names of these individuals, area of residence and or school board Rep known, known accounts on social media, and any other info that you feel is relevant.'
When one member pointed to one name asking: 'Why is she on this list? I haven't seen her support anti-CRT?' Hultman-Lee is said to have replied: 'I put a question mark next to her bc I'm curious about some of her comments re the Dr. Seuss nonsense and racial equity generally. Happy to remove if I'm off the mark.'
Loudoun County parent Austin Levine later told a school board meeting: 'I am on a list — not Santa's list — but a list of enemies created by a group led by the marching orders of one of your colleagues.
'This list included names, places of work, where they lived and their perceived wrongs.'
LCPS interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler said: 'LCPS has not adopted Critical Race Theory as a framework for staff to adhere to. Social media rumors that staff members have been disciplined or fired for not adhering to the tenants of critical race theory or for refusing to teach this theory are not true.'
He added: 'We fully support the expression of First Amendment rights and deplore any efforts to silence voices contributing to the valuable public discourse and debate that helps strengthen, guide and inform our work on behalf of our school community.'
Loudoun Parents for Education is one of those groups against critical race theory
Earlier this month Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said: 'There is no room in classrooms for things like critical race theory. Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.'
President Donald Trump also cracked down on diversity training at federal agencies that employed critical race theory.
Trump's memo came after the U.S. spent a summer reckoning over racial injustice in policing and other spheres of American life.
The Republican branded seminars that employ the theory as 'divisive' and 'anti-American propaganda', tweeting: 'Americans should be taught to take PRIDE in our Great Country, and if you don't there's nothing in it for you!'
Critics blasted the ban on racial sensitivity training, saying it was more important than ever given the country's social and political climate.
When he took office, Biden signed an executive order reversing the Trump-era policy.