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Frisco ISD’s ‘Read Woke’ challenge sparks controversy over critical race theory amid school board election



FRISCO, TX – Frisco ISD officials are working to shut down social media rumors after a “Read Woke” challenge sparked controversy about school curriculum.

The optional reading challenge encouraged high school students to read 10 books that “cover current topics faced in society” — namely inclusion and gender equality. Frisco ISD librarians introduced their version of the challenge, which was created by Cicely Lewis, a Georgia librarian who was the National School Librarian of the Year in 2020.

After the challenge launched in Frisco, rumors began circulating on social media that the district was teaching its students critical race theory, which says laws and institutions perpetuate racial inequality. It has become a focal issue for conservatives, with state lawmakers recently introducing a bill that would ban schools from teaching it.

School Board Vice President René Archambault wrote on Facebook that Frisco ISD is “absolutely not implementing” the theory in its curriculum.

“We are not sure where this information is coming from other than it is a rumor being proliferated by individuals that know very little, if anything, about our district or our curriculum,” Archambault wrote.

The rumors came to light amid the school board election for Frisco ISD Board of Trustees Place 7, the race in which Archambault is facing a challenge from Evelyn Brooks, who on April 21 shared a story from a conservative website, Texas Scorecard, about the theory on her campaign page.

Frisco ISD librarian Nancy Jo Lambert described the rumors as misinformation spread by political activists who are trying to “stoke fear and outrage about beautiful books,” she wrote in a Facebook post on her personal page.

The post — which was not written as an official comment by the district — said the goal of the challenge is to share stories of people who are oppressed and to “shed light on an issue that many may not perceive as being an issue.”

“These books and this program are not, in any way, tied to the curriculum, being taught by any teacher or promoting Critical Race Theory,” Lambert wrote.

“Our district serves children and families with many different backgrounds, cultures, religions and identities, and the high school librarians hope to honor that and afford all students the opportunity to see themselves in the books on our shelves,” she added.