A Marine veteran and father is speaking out against critical race theory (CRT) and mask mandates after his kids’ school district in Michigan took on a “21 day equity challenge.”
As Fox News Digital previously noted, the equity challenge included items like a White privilege checklist and a list of microaggressions that warned against, for example, calling America “the land of opportunity.”
Björn Olson, a Farmington Hills Public Schools father, told Fox News Digital last week that both CRT and his district’s mask mandates create division.
Those effectively contradict values that Olson says he learned in the Marines.
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“In the Marines, we are really taught and told there are no White or Black or any other color Marines,” he said. “There are only green Marines, which is green as a military color. In the Marines, obviously there’s still hate, there’s still racism, there’s still some discrimination. As humans, there is going to exist a certain level of that. When I was in the Marines, I saw a unity and a solidarity across skin colors. I saw unity across income levels. I saw unity across religious differences. In fact, there were many situations where the differences were mighty, but everybody respected each other and treated each other as such.”
He added that he thought “the idea of anti-racism and anti-discrimination makes total sense. I think racism and discrimination are horrible … and I would love to see it eradicated – we all would, most of us would.”
Olson said that “in some cases the attempt to educate that or legislate it away does more harm than good.”
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Olson also said that the kind of division purportedly produced by CRT could hurt needed cohesion among military service members. His comments came amid news that the U.S. military was promoting materials like Ibram Kendi’s book “How to be an Anti-Racist.”
“You’re putting your life on the line, and you are there to also save and protect the person to the right or left of you or to be saved by the person to the right or left of you,” he said. “As a result, you must have 100% trust and confidence in that person. And if that unity is broken, the entire approach falls apart. Imagine being on the front lines and you’re not entirely sure if you can trust the Marine to your left or right.”
Farmington Hills Public Schools did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Fox2Detroit reported earlier this month that Board of Education President Terri A. Weems said “[t]he board of education wants to promote adult behaviors that support a culture of equity and innovation because FPS has a vision for high achievement for all of its students.”
The board reportedly said it would go forward with the equity plans despite facing vocal opposition. Superintendent Dr. Christopher Delgado reportedly said: “It was never intended to stand alone, because absent the context and the dialogue, individual pieces could be misinterpreted.”
Chalkbeat reported in November that the district had implemented a mask mandate. An email obtained by Fox News Digital also showed North Farmington High School stating that masks were required.
“Masks are still required inside our schools at all times,” the Jan. 22 email read. “N95 or KN95 masks are recommended for maximum prevention. However, cloth or surgical masks are permitted provided they fit snugly over the mouth and nose. The District has requested N95 masks for employees through the Oakland County Health Department and are awaiting delivery.”
It added that “[i]t is extremely important to note that all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a mask at all times while inside our building, with the exception of while students are outside or actively eating at lunch time, per district guidelines and Oakland County Health Division mandate.”
Mandating masks was divisive, according to Olson. “The mask mandate in our school district is a point of contention,” he told Fox News Digital. “It’s not just a rule that some people agree with and some people don’t … if you don’t agree with the rule, you are considered to be hateful and other names are projected at you.”
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Olson said that if “my children were, for example, were to speak out and say here’s why we don’t believe the mask mandate is necessary, they would be ostracized by many kids and many students. That’s division.”
North Farmington High School did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.