In the school district’s latest move defying Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive orders banning “inherently divisive concepts” from public education curriculum, Oakton High School, which is part of Fairfax County Public Schools, asked students to participate in a “privilege bingo.”
The exercise titled “identifying your privilege” is littered with bingo spaces accusing students who are a “military kid,” “white,” “male,” “cisgender,” “Christian,” and more of being privileged.
According to a report in The Daily Wire, Assistant Superintendent Douglas A. Tyson told concerned parents that the screenshot in question originated from “an approved FCPS English Curriculum lesson that is centered around students selecting a ‘choice’ test and examining in detail the author’s perspective on a wide-range [sic] of issues.”
The exercise, Tyson continued, was designed for students to determine whether authors have “privilege that may or may not be present in the work” and then reflect on their own biases based on their race as well as economic and educational status.
Parents and students in Virginia who have fought critical race theory and other radical ideologies in their schools over the last two years, however, aren’t so pleased.
“It’s particularly sad and poignant that this came out the week of MLK Day. I mean, this is yet another district in America that is teaching children to identify themselves and treat others by characteristics that, in this case for the military thing, is absolutely meaningless,” Nicole Neily, President of Parents Defending Education, told The Federalist.
Neily noted that parents are growing increasingly frustrated with the district’s handling of COVID-era schooling and divisive curriculum that puts students in boxes.
“These are students who, at the end of the day, want to get a good grade, are picking up on these cues from their teachers, right? And so they regurgitate these talking points and things like this. And I think it’s very difficult for students to say what they need to say to get a good grade while maintaining kind of their own perspective on issues. This feels very coercive, quite honestly,” Neily said. “…Fairfax parents, obviously, have been extremely outspoken about their unhappiness with a number of elements of the school system.”
On his first day in office, Youngkin announced a series of executive orders designed to curb the radicalization of the state’s public school system. One of his orders banned curriculum that claims “some students are consciously or unconsciously racist, sexist, or oppressive, and that other students are victims.”
“This denies our students the opportunity to gain important facts, core knowledge, formulate their own opinions, and to think for themselves. Our children deserve far better from their education than to be told what to think,” Youngkin explained.
Another order ushered in by Youngkin banned mask mandates in the Commonwealth’s public schools.
Despite these orders, some Northern Virginia school districts are refusing to comply. Fairfax County Public Schools announced this week that it will continue “universal mask wearing” in its schools.
Fairfax County Public Schools did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s questions or request for comment.
After the publication of this story, an FCPS spokeswoman told The Federalist that the privilege bingo “has understandably caused concern in our community, particularly among military families.”
“FCPS recognizes and honors the experiences of all our families, including those in service to our country in the military,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “We have revised this activity. We apologize for any offense it may have unintentionally caused. FCPS remains committed to equipping students with the skills to recognize multiple perspectives, analyze bias, and examine privilege as 21st century learners.”
Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordangdavidson.