A large school district in Washington has canceled music lessons for fourth graders as the school board director linked teaching children to play instruments to racism, suggesting that music lessons could “inculcate and allow white supremacy culture to continue to be propagated and cause significant institutional violence.”

The comments, made by school board director Scott Clifthorne, came as the school discussed ways to save money for the school. By eliminating band and orchestra for fourth and fifth grade, the Olympia School District would save $530,000; the district agreed to keep the fifth-grade programs.

“We’re a school district that lives in … is entrenched in … is surrounded by white supremacy culture. And that’s a real thing,” Clifthorne told parents.

“There’s nothing about strings or wind instrumental music that is intrinsically white supremacist,” he said. “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.”

Many parents were not pleased with Clifthorne’s comments.

“This type of language from this particular board director and the entire board is not surprising at all,” Alesha Perkins, a parent in the district, told “Fox and Friends First.” “This is actually par for the course. The issue is we are having such a catastrophic budget crisis right now that they’re having to cut programs. And so what has happened is this program has been deemed ‘inequitable.’ And in a previous comment, the director of elementary education stated that not only is this program ‘inequitable,’ but when she heard the word ‘tradition of excellence,’ which was used to describe our music programs, she said that the word ‘tradition’ actually translated to her to mean systemic discrimination.”

“We have reached a level of absurdity in our school district, among our school board and our leadership that is just hard to ignore at this point,” she continued. “We are losing students in huge numbers. I’m not talking about a handful of students. ‘I’m talking hundreds and hundreds of students that are exiting the district, and they are virtually all citing these reasons. You cannot sustain a school district with a mass exodus of students.”

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