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Gwinnett County School Chairperson makes history, faces criticism

Tarece Johnson is first Black woman selected as chairperson of Gwinnett County Schools board
Tarece Johnson is first Black woman selected as chairperson of Gwinnett County Schools board(WGCL)
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 1:00 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Gwinnett County Schools made history, choosing its first Black woman to become chairperson for the school board, but the new leader faces both celebration and criticism.

“It’s so important for us to listen to multiple perspectives and I do that,” Tarece Johnson told CBS46.

It was a historic move Thursday when colleagues chose Johnson as the chairwoman, the first Black woman to hold the position. But since then, there’s been some online outrage from Gwinnett parents who have called for her resignation.

Parents took to social media to cite Johnson’s ethics reviews on Tik Tok as an issue of concern.

Tik Tok show Johnson appearing to do cultural dances, waving a Black Lives Matter flag, and in other cases, she talked about systemic racism and equity on her online platform. A divisive decision, claimed some Gwinnett families in Facebook comments and shares under the district’s announcement of new leadership.

“Equity is not taking anything away from anyone. Equity is essentially making sure that every single child has what they need to be successful, that includes white children,” she explained.

Johnson added, her advocacy is for all of Gwinnett.

“If we are all united in meeting the needs of our children then we can use that as common ground.”

This comes as Johnson is among a group of 12 metro Atlanta school leaders who signed and sent an open letter to the Georgia Legislature dated Jan 13. The letter urges the state not to pass HB 888, which was just introduced this month. The bill would ban educators from teaching Critical Race Theory.

However, Critical Race Theory is currently not a part of the Georgia K-12 curriculum. But leaders who signed the letter in opposition believe the bill would simply censor any education on racism.

As for Johnson, she plans to advocate and unite the district by tapping into her diversity and inclusion ‘expertise,’ gained from her previous professional history, she says.

“I understand that everyone is not without bias, we all have it. So it’s so important for us to learn how to combat the biases and combat the ignorance with education.”