Commissioner upset with ‘critical theory’ teaching at community college

Published 2:52 am Thursday, November 10, 2022

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

A Davie County commissioner apparently is not happy with how Davidson-Davie Community College (DDCC) handled complaints about a teacher earlier this fall, and urged fellow commissioners to talk to the college’s board of directors.

“They do not need to propagandize and brainwash our young people,” Commissioner Mark Jones said. “It’s not what they’re there for. They’re there to train.”

He went on to say that budget time is coming up, and these things should be considered to “make sure this (critical theory) does not seep into Davie County.”

College President Dr. Darrin Hartness responded that college teachers and professors have academic freedom, and that civil dialogue about controversial topics should be welcomed.

Neither Jones or Hartness mentioned the teacher in question, or what was said in a communications class in which five students walked out.

Jones said during the commissioner’s comments section of the October board meeting that he had received calls from several parents.

“There are great things happening – 98 percent of what is going on at DDCC and the public schools is positive for the citizens of Davie County; but what I was alerted to and know is a fact, is a problem.

“This issue of critical theory, which is a Lennist, Marxist class warfare theory that’s permeated our colleges … beginning probably in the early 60s … and it is something we don’t want in the classrooms of Davie County or DDCC. This has to be stopped.”

Hartness said that those five students filed formal complaints, which were investigated and handled a month or so prior to Jones’ comments. “These students continue to be actively engaged in their college coursework. Any time a student or employee has a concern, we have processes in place for those concerns or complaints to be shared and investigated,” Hartness said.

Jones said the college response to parents was inadequate.

“They were basically called helicopter parents,” Jones said. “This cannot go on. It’s 1 percent of poison that needs to be retracted from that school. We can’t allow this to seep itself in, and I can tell you, it’s happening in more than just these two classes.

“Thank goodness, those five students had the backbone to stand up and walk out of the class when this started.”

The critical theory uses race to divide people in America, Jones said.

“What was promulgated to those children, forced down their throats in that classroom, was nothing but the radical opinions of a professor being taught as facts to kids in a communications class. I had another parent contact me who said the textbooks are full of issues of CRT (critical race theory) and critical theory.

“We funded the DDCC and they deserve it. They’re doing great things in connection with economic development and technical training, and all the things they do for our community. But this has to be stopped. This has to be stopped.”

Davie High School students are allowed to take classes for credit at the community college, many of them advanced placement, or AP classes. Jones questioned why more of these classes aren’t offered on the high school campus.

“Be aware. We have to be vigilant. We can see on Fox News or CNN what is being taught in our universities … but we’ve got to make sure that this doesn’t seep into Davie County.”

Civil discourse about controversial topics is normal for a college setting, Hartness said.

“I want every classroom at our college to be a place where professors and students of all ages can have civil dialogue about any range of topics. Civil dialogue provides our students the opportunity to think critically and learn to articulate their thoughts, opinions, experiences and positions through respectful and effective communication,” Hartness said.

“College professors have academic freedom at Davidson-Davie Community College or at any other two-year or four-year institution of higher education. In the academic setting, faculty members may present controversial topics, issues or theories, but it would not be appropriate to insist the adoption of any particular point of view as authoritative.”

Hartness went on to say that DDCC is a top-performing college that is a vital part of economic development for Davie County.

“We welcome students of all ages and backgrounds to our college and are providing opportunities to build better skills for better careers, and better lives fror our students who choose to take advantage of higher education.”