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Lawmaker wants a Missouri school district to turn over any records referring to ‘critical race theory’; the district wants a deposit of $170,000

Lawmaker wants a Missouri school district to turn over any records referring to ‘critical race theory’; the district wants a deposit of $170,000

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In the classroom

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Missouri lawmaker is demanding that Springfield’s public schools turn over three years’ worth of staff emails and other documents with references to critical race theory and more than two dozen other words or phrases.

In response, the school district is demanding a deposit of at least $170,000 to get started.

Republican state Rep. Craig Fishel filed the Sunshine Law request in early September, the Springfield News-Leader reported. The district sent Fishel a lengthy, itemized response on Sept. 20.

Fishel is accusing the district of inflating the potential cost and said he may ask the House subpoena the records.

District spokesperson Stephen Hall said Fishel’s request is “extraordinarily broad” and could require thousands of hours of staff time to fulfill.

Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sent a survey this summer asking each district to report whether it used critical race theory or the New York Times’ 1619 Project on the role of slavery in American history in classrooms. All but three districts, including Springfield’s, said they were not.

Fishel is seeking records from the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years involving critical race theory and other terms such as “Black Lives Matter,” “Antiracism or racism,” “Diversity, equity and inclusion” and “Whiteness, white privilege and white fragility.”

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