A group of 20 or so protesters angered by Minneapolis Public Schools’ contract with Reading Horizons, a Utah-based company that provided books some teachers found laden with cultural and racial stereotypes, forced an abrupt end to Tuesday’s special Board of Education meeting.
Protesters associated with the Social Justice Education Movement, including teachers, students and disgruntled community members, called for an end to the district’s $1.2 million contract with Reading Horizons, which released a controversial literacy curriculum.
Board members took two separate recesses to calm the crowd, a district spokesperson confirmed Tuesday night. The meeting was held to discuss a proposed 4 percent increase to its property tax levy, but the board had to forgo allowing public input on the matter due to the disruption.
Videos posted on social media show protesters standing behind the chairs of board members, holding signs and chanting “Whose school? Our school,” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Reading Horizons has got to go.” Board members were forced to yell into their microphones to approve the levy proposal before adjourning early.
A Committee of the Whole meeting set to begin immediately after was canceled.
District officials expect Reading Horizons CEO Tyson Smith to attend the Oct. 13 board meeting where public comments on the matter are encouraged, the spokesperson said. The board earlier this month demanded a public apology from the company and a recall of the materials they deemed racially offensive.
Reading Horizons has since vowed to retool the books and diversify the team that designs the curriculum.