The Wayne County Public Schools investigation continues into the reported teacher assignment the Goldsboro High School principal gave to some teachers concerning “white privilege.”
The school district is not sharing any information but confirmed that investigation is ongoing.
“In order to conduct its investigation with fidelity, WCPS cannot comment on the process or any details that have been shared thus far,” spokesman Ken Derksen said Monday afternoon. “I can assure you that the investigation is deliberate and that the district will provide an update to the extent it can, once it has concluded. The district is reserving any further comments until that process is complete.”
Derksen added, “WCPS understands that the News-Argus needs to keep the story moving forward in order to keep the community informed.” He
said he would work to get the newspaper everything he can within the confines of what WCPS can provide during the investigation.
The investigation centers around Goldsboro High School Principal Christopher Horne and a report on the website New Old North that claims Horne gave more than a dozen teachers an assignment on March 18 to read and examine an article titled “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” The assignment also included that the teachers submit a cultural biography to discuss both the material and their writing, the report states.
Within days of the report, Derksen confirmed the allegation. “Wayne County Public Schools takes this matter very serious. The district is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the appropriate next steps as a district,” he said March 27.
“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” is the 1988 work of author and researcher Peggy McIntosh and can be found at https://bit.ly/2iDOEnD.
According to the article’s introduction, it is now considered a classic by anti-racist educators. “While people of color have described for years how whites benefit from unearned privileges, this is one of the first articles written by a white person on the topics,” the introduction states.
This introduction follows with a recommended use of the work that is similar to Horne’s assignment described on the New Old North website. These uses include suggesting that “participants read the article, discuss it, and possibly have participants write a list of additional ways in which whites are privileged in their own school and community setting.”
“Or participants can be asked to keep a diary for the following week of white privilege that they notice — and in some cases challenge — in their daily lives.”
It also is unclear how many teachers were given the assignment nor how the teacher participants were selected.