School Counselor Told Parents Black History Month Lessons Are Optional

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An Indiana elementary school is facing backlash after one its school counselors sent a letter to parents that gave them the choice to opt-out of Black History Month lessons for their kids.

"In honor of Black History Month and Valentine's Day, I will be coming around and teaching lessons related to equity, caring and understanding differences," a memo from Sprunica Elementary School counselor Benjamin White reads.

"Studies show that students who have a greater understanding of diversity in the classroom and outside world will demonstrate improved learning outcomes such as improved grades, better peer relationships, and greater career later on," the memo continued.

But, the note ended with an option for parents to have their children sit out of the lessons.

"If you would like to opt your child out of receiving these lessons then sign the form below and have your child return it to the school to give it to the teacher." Copies of the memo circulated on social media, prompting criticism.

On Wednesday (February 16), Brown County superintendent Emily Tracy said in a statement that officials are "gathering more information on the matter."

"Our district supports teaching about the facts in our history including historical injustices," Tracy said.

News of this memo comes as conservative politicians across the country push to remove Critical Race Theory, Black History and any other lessons that white parents might find offensive.

In several states, laws have already been proposed to outlaw lessons about slavery and other parts of American history (and present). School boards are also working to ban books –– many written by Black, LGBTQIA+, Latino, Native and other authors.

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