Posted on July 26, 2023

School Board in Missouri, Now Controlled by Conservatives, Revokes Anti-Racism Resolution

Jim Salter, Associated Press, July 23, 2023

In the national reckoning that followed the police killing of George Floyd three years ago, about 2,000 protesters took to the streets in a St. Louis suburb and urged the mostly white Francis Howell School District to address racial discrimination. The school board responded with a resolution promising to do better.

Now the board, led by new conservative board members elected since last year, has revoked that anti-racism resolution and copies of it will be removed from school buildings.

The resolution passed in August 2020 “pledges to our learning community that we will speak firmly against any racism, discrimination, and senseless violence against people regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ability.

“We will promote racial healing, especially for our Black and brown students and families,” the resolution states. “We will no longer be silent.”


The Francis Howell district is among Missouri’s largest, with 17,000 students, about 87% of whom are white. T{snip}

While a few others also will be canceled, the anti-racism resolution was clearly the focus. Dozens of people opposed to its revocation packed the board meeting, many holding signs reading, “Forward, not backward.”


The board’s vice president, Randy Cook, said phrases in the resolution such as “systemic racism” aren’t defined and mean different things to different people. Another board member, Jane Puszkar, said the resolution served no purpose.


Since the resolution was adopted, the makeup of the board has flipped. Just two board members remain from 2020. Five new members elected in April 2022 and April 2023 had the backing of the conservative political action committee Francis Howell Families.

In 2021, the PAC described the anti-racism resolution as “woke activism” and drafted an alternative resolution to oppose “all acts of racial discrimination, including the act of promoting tenets of the racially-divisive Critical Race Theory, labels of white privilege, enforced equity of outcomes, identity politics, intersectionalism, and Marxism.”


Revoking the Francis Howell resolution “sets a precedent for what’s to come,” St. Charles County NAACP President Zebrina Looney warned.

“I think this is only the beginning for what this new board is set out to do,” Looney said.