A Utah charter school that incorporates Black History Month into its lesson plans is now facing backlash from some after the school announced it was allowing parents to opt students out of the curriculum.
A charter school in Utah is now facing backlash after allowing students to opt-out of its Black History Month curriculum.
According to the Standard-Examiner, Maria Montessori Academy Director Micah Hirokawa announced the decision on the school’s private Facebook page on Friday. He reportedly wrote that he “reluctantly” sent the letter to parents saying that the administration was permitting them “to exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month at the school.”
Hirokawa added that “a few families” asked to not take part in the curriculum, though he didn’t reveal to the Standard-Examiner how many parents made the initial request or the reasons why they did. He said that the parents’ decision “deeply saddens and disappoints me.”
Enrollment data from the Utah State Board of Education shows that only three of the school’s 322 students are Black, while white students comprise around 70 percent of the school’s student body.
“We should not shield our children from the history of our nation, the mistreatment of its African American citizens, and the bravery of civil rights leaders, but should educate them about it,” Hirokawa said. He told the Utah publication that the school integrates Black History Month into social studies and history lessons for its elementary and middle school students, where teachers underscore the accomplishments of notable Black figures in the nation’s history.
Hirokawa—whose family is Asian and whose great-grandparents were sent to a Japanese internment camp—told the outlet that he thinks there is “a lot of value in teaching our children about the mistreatment, challenges, and obstacles that people of color in our nation have had to endure and what we can do today to ensure that such wrongs don’t continue.”
They already disrespected Black History Month by making it take place during February the shortest month. Now they are allowing students to even opt out of learning any of the history.