Posted on April 26, 2023

School Board Cuts Music Class Over ‘White Supremacy,’ ‘Institutional Violence’

Jason Rantz, KTTH, April 23, 2023

An Olympia School District board member cut music classes because they are examples of “white supremacy” culture that “caused significant institutional violence.”

The district is expecting an $11.5 million budget shortfall and needs to make budget cuts. Music courses for 4th and 5th graders were on the chopping block, leaving students and their parents angry and concerned. In the end, the district cut band and strings from 4th-grade classes for a savings of roughly $537,000. But the cuts were not considered solely over budgetary concerns.

School Board Director Scott Clifthorne told concerned parents that music courses aren’t offered equitably across the district. He said some schools provide the courses at times that would require some students to miss “core instruction,” whereas others don’t. Rather than address this reasonable concern, he launched into a monologue to claim music classes are examples of “white supremacy” culture.

“We also know that there are other folks in the community that experience things like a tradition of excellence as exclusionary. And I don’t think that there are just one or two or 10 or 20 people that think that. But that’s not unique to elementary instrumental music. We’re a school district that lives in … is entrenched in … is surrounded by white supremacy culture. And that’s a real thing,” Clifthorne said.


“There’s nothing about strings or wind instrumental music that is intrinsically white supremacist. However, the ways in which it is and the ways in which all of our institutions, not just schools — local government, state government, churches, or neighborhoods — inculcate and allow white supremacy culture to continue to be propagated and cause significant institutional violence are things that we have to think about carefully as a community. And I think that we have to do that interrogation. {snip}” he said.