A Utah school reversed its decision to let students opt out of Black History Month lessons after backlash
Utahschool said students could opt out of Black History Monthlessons, prompting complaints.
- The option was announced in a Facebook post by the school's director, the Standard-Examiner first reported.
- Out of 322 students at the academy, only three — less than 1% — identify as Black, the AP reported.
A charter school in North Ogden, Utah reversed a decision that would have allowed students to opt out of lessons related to Black History Month.
"A few families" requested not to participate in the teachings related to Black History Month, Hirokawa wrote in the post, though he did not tell the Standard-Examiner exactly how many opted out or why.
"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," the post said.
Hirokawa also said the requests saddened him but that he "reluctantly" issued a letter to parents "explaining that families are allowed to exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month," the Examiner reported.
The Facebook post drew swift criticism, with some comments accusing the school of enabling racism, the Examiner reported.
On Saturday, Hirokawa walked back the decision.
"Celebrating Black History Month is part of our tradition," Hirokawa said in an email to Insider. "We regret that after receiving requests, an
He said the school has removed the option to opt out, and that the parents who initially inquired have since worked with the school and that no students are opting out at this time.
"It's just heartbreaking that anyone who runs a school would believe that it is okay in any way, that it is acceptable in any way, to try to ban talking about black history," Lex Scott, the leader of Black Lives Matter Utah, told FOX13. "You can't opt out of black history. Black history is American history."
One parent, Rebecca Bennett, said in a comment she was appalled to see that parents were even given the option, the Examiner reported.
"I was appalled to see the form sent out that allows parents to opt their kids out of this and to hear that this is all because some parents have requested it," Bennett commented on the post. "I echo others who are disappointed to hear this was even ever made an issue in the first place by some families in our school's community,"
Data reported by the Associated Press from the Utah State Board of Education shows that out of 322 students at the academy, only three - less than 1% - identify as Black. Almost 70% identify as white.
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