NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — A meeting Thursday was called to address proposed changes that allow for academic transparency on the subject of “Critical Race Theory” in K-12 schools.

In November 2021, North Dakota’s House of Representatives passed a bill banning Critical Race Theory in schools.

Two separate rooms full of concerned legislators, public figures, parents, and community members gathered at the North Dakota State Capitol to discuss critical race theory.

A number of people fell on both sides.

There were those who agree with the ban, that CRT should not be taught, and that the law should stand strong.

“The parents are the people who raise the kids, not the school system,“ said State Representative Jim Kasper.

“Nearly 180 system standards will mean that really there aren’t any standards,” said North Dakota State Senator, Michael Wobbema.

“Kids are kids. Kids come to your school, they are playing on the playground, they all get along, they don’t care what color they are. They don’t care what gender they are, they all just get along. So, why do we have to constantly put these policies in place to cause division with little kids?” the former superintendent of Kensal, Tom Tracy said.

“Students and the kids of mine. They’re my kids. The state has no authority of teaching them morals, none,” said Bismarck resident, Mark Long.

However, there were others who felt Critical Race Theory should be taught in schools, and not just in college or graduate school.

“This is also not being taught in school. I did not learn this until I was in college, and I am upset about it,” said Minot State student, Zayden Bartosh.

“I didn’t learn about who I was as an individual or my culture until I went to college, and there’s something wrong with that,” said a member of Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Anna Ross.

“The more important need is the cultural needs that need to be met,” Lorraine Davis said.

“The ghost of Jim crow is still alive,” stated retired Bis-Man teacher, Keith Henderson.

Many also debated that race is not inherent, it’s taught. How does a young child on the playground playing with whomever, become a “racist”? When does it become an issue?

Bismarck resident, Coty Sicble argues race becomes an issue every time you’re asked to check the box.

“We do have a race issue. There’s a race box everywhere you go: to buy a weapon, there’s a race box. To join the United States military, there’s a race box. To go to college, there’s a race box. Now, I had to check white, I’m not white, look at me, “says Sicble.

The emotions in the meeting were high. Although both sides do not agree on Critical Race Theory, the common goal was that North Dakotans care about what is being taught in our schools.

The meeting lasted roughly three hours.

The public will be able to make comments until 5 p.m. Monday, September 19.