Portland principal sparks uproar, says education system was built on oppression, White supremacy

Parents are reportedly upset after a Portland school principal told school board members that the education system was built on oppression and White supremacy.

Sherwood High School principal Melissa Baran made those comments during a talk on Jan. 20, KOIN 6 reported on Tuesday.

“Historically, our underrepresented students, our most vulnerable students that are experiencing a variety of different circumstances, that the system hasn’t been working for them,” Baran said.

Baran added that “education as a whole was built on the system of oppression and White supremacy, and we are trying to talk about that more. And we’re trying to really examine what is the system moving forward, and how do we make sure that what we’re doing doesn’t perpetuate those differences – doesn’t perpetuate those gaps that we have been talking about as a district for a long time.”

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A now-deleted Facebook post reportedly showed a member of “Sherwood Community Info Group (Original)” labeling Baran a “BLM [Black Lives Matter] Marxist.”  

Baran’s racial comments were just the latest to emerge from schools and government training sessions in recent months. Parents and government employees have alerted media to sessions that seem to promote “critical race theory,” a philosophy that received markedly enhanced attention in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year. Often including sweeping claims about whiteness and systemic racism, this type of ideology is usually associated with the Black Lives Matter movement and Marxism.

Political scientist Carol M. Swain told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Monday that certain “curriculum put forth by Black Lives Matter and being embraced in too many places is really destructive of the Black community and the Black family and racial justice.”

It’s unclear what exactly Baran was referring to when she made her remarks about education, but training tends to reference slavery and other forms of discrimination as having long-lasting impacts that ripple through the U.S.

Baran didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment, but she reportedly defended her remarks.

“Creating opportunities for success for all of our students is our focus moving forward,” she said.

“We will continue to examine everything we are doing, with the hope and plan of building the system that best serves all students and staff within our school.”

The Sherwood School District superintendent also blasted the Facebook post that was critical of Baran, according to KOIN 6.

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“Staff and administrators throughout our district have been working to address systematic inequalities in our own organization for many years; the contributions to that work from staff members of color provides valuable, necessary and highly relevant context to that critical work,” read a letter from Superintendent Heather Cordie.

“The context behind this work in our district was completely ignored in yesterday’s post, making the act of singling out one staff member’s comments on the topic even more blatant in its intention to be inflammatory and personal in nature.” 

Racial comments were just the latest to emerge from schools and government training sessions