One Ogden, Utah charter school sent an email to parents informing them they could opt their child out from Black History Month lessons and activities. The notice, now deleted, was posted on the school Facebook page.
But Micah Hirokawa, director of Maria Montessori Academy, posted the next day on Facebook that only “a few families” had complained and that he “reluctantly” sent out the first email giving students the option “to exercise their civil rights” not to participate.
The school already incorporates black history into its curriculum, which may be one reason that parents were given the choice of opting out. The school’s board of directors refused to comment.
Hirokawa apparently spoke for many of the parents who questioned the decision.
Hirokawa said “few families” asked not to participate in instruction related to Black History Month. But he declined to say how many parents or their reasons for making the decision.
“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, adding that the parents’ request saddens and disappoints him.
The parents seemed more puzzled than outraged.
“I’m not exactly sure why anyone thought that they had to send out a document saying, you know, ‘I don’t want my child to participate in this activity,'” said Jaime Tracey, a parent of a student at the school. “That’s what the document says.”
Tracey’s daughter has been a student at Maria Montessori Academy for seven years.
“This is the first year that anything has ever been discussed about Black History Month,” she added.
Teaching that slavery was very bad and white people largely supported it and perpetrated it shouldn’t be a problem. Learning about blacks who fought and died to be treated equally shouldn’t be a problem. Learning about contributions by black citizens to American history shouldn’t be a problem.
Then what is the problem?
Parents who seek to pick and choose what history should be suppressed and what should be taught are missing the entire point of education. “Teach this, don’t teach that” doesn’t work. There are certain perceptions of history that are different and parents should be watchful that some perceptions aren’t favored to the exclusion of all others.
But it’s frankly silly to try and micromanage your child’s education intake.
Hirokawa sent another email to parents Saturday afternoon apologizing for the option to opt out and has rescinded that offer. The email states that “at this time no families are opting out of our planned activities and we have removed this option.”
No doubt the blowback resulted in the walkback.
This infuriates me. This achool is ok with coddling the views of racisim & White Supremacy. If I recieved that letter I would be pulling my child & going to another school. Do parents have the right to opt out of White history? https://t.co/VtdTv2Je0r
— Looking for Joy (@JoyRuthann) February 6, 2021
There were probably a variety of reasons that parents would opt their kids out of studying black history. I would guess that racism and white supremacy were not among them. But it certainly gives virtue-signalers an opportunity to ignorantly posture without knowing why.
Black History Month should be a time we remember the courage of those who risked life and limb to make the words in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution mean what they say; that all men are created equal and there will be equality under the law.