Right-wing Tennessee group says learning about civil rights movement gives kids 'emotional trauma'
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks at Lincoln Memorial (Photo: National Archives)

Moms for Liberty, a right-wing group that is organizing against the teaching of critical race theory in schools, is now leveling objections to the teaching of the entire civil rights movement.

As flagged by Judd Legum on Twitter, Moms for Liberty filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Education asking it to remove several books from the elementary school curriculum, including Frances Ruffin's book "Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington" and "Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story" by Ruby Bridges.

In the filing, the group objected to the Ruffin book for showing "photographs of white firemen blasting Black children to the point of 'bruising their bodies and ripping off their clothes'" and of showing segregated drinking fountains.

These photographs, according to Moms for Liberty, imposed extreme emotional hardships on students despite being historically accurate.

"Some children are seeing counselors to overcome the emotional trauma inflicted upon them by what they learned in Tennessee public education," the group claims. "Targeting elementary age children with daily lessons on fighting past injusticies as if they were occurring in present day violates Tennessee law and will sow the seeds of racial strife."

The Tennessean reports that the Department of Education rejected the group's complaint on the basis that the books were used to teach lessons during the previous school year and not the current year.

"The department is only authorized to investigate allegations that have occurred during the 2021‐ 2022 school year and subsequent school years," the Tennessean explains.

Even though the DOE rejected this particular complaint, it's likely that the group will file it again if these books are used to teach students in the current school year.