A charter school in Utah has made a U-turn on the decision to allow families to “exercise their civil rights” and to opt children out of lessons relating to Black History Month, after facing a major backlash online.
“We regret that after receiving requests, an opt-out form was sent out concerning activities planned during this month of celebration,” Maria Montessori Academy’s board of directors announced on Sunday.
The school in North Ogden, which has a majority white student base according to the Utah State Board of Education, uses Black History Month to incorporate specific teachings about the history of black Americans in both social studies and history classes. After receiving a handful of complaints, last week the school sent families an opt-out letter offering everyone an option to “exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month at the school.”
The First District of Utah is a welcoming, inclusive community, and our children should learn and celebrate Black history without controversy. We cannot learn American history without learning Black history. Read my full statement here: https://t.co/4H829eGcy4#utpol
— Rep. Blake Moore (@RepBlakeMoore) February 7, 2021
However, the move soon made national news and the outrage spread online, drawing the ire of many critics and being blasted as “racist.” Faced with a backlash and growing attention from the media and politicians, the school officials apparently rushed to hold a meeting with parents to “resolve” the issue.
“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 school’s director Micah Hirokawa said, noting that “in the future, we will handle all parental concerns on an individual basis.”
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