A school in Utah reversed its decision to allow children to opt out of its Black History curriculum. The Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden received requests from parents to pull their children out of Black History Month activities and sent an opt-out form home last Wednesday (February 3), according to a report by CNN.
The school hasn’t disclosed how many parents didn’t want their kids participating in the Black History Month curriculum, but changed their minds about allowing some students to sit out, and will no longer provide the opt-out option.
“Celebrating Black History Month is part of our tradition,” school director Micah Hirokawa and the school’s Board of Directors said in a statement. “We regret that an opt-out form was sent out concerning activities planned during this month of celebration. We are grateful that families that initially had questions and concerns have willingly come to the table to resolve any differences and at this time no families are opting out of our planned activities and we have removed this option,” the statement said.
According to KSL Hirokawa wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post his reluctance to send out the opt-out forms in the first place, citing his own family’s history as immigrants.
“I believe that all of us, and especially our children, need to participate in Black History Month and in the process learn how to appreciate and love those who may be different than us,” Hirokawa wrote, according to the outlet.
This news comes as Republican state legislatures work to pass measures to limit how racism, slavery, and systemic oppression are taught in classroom across the US. The effect of which would be detrimental, according to experts.
“When Black students don’t see themselves in the curriculum, it’s truly destructive to their sense of self,” Jesse Hagopian, a Seattle, Washington high school teacher told CNN last year.
Efforts continue to get accurate teaching into schools about American history and Black history.
For the Maria Montessori Academy, Hirokawa said an “individual basis” approach will be used if parents raise concerns about their kids learning about Black history. Hirokawa added that the school is “excited to celebrate the rich content of Black History Month.”
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