Utah School Offers To Let Students Opt Out Of Black History Month
A Utah charter school is receiving some unwanted national attention after offering parents the option to opt out of the Black History Month curriculum teachings for their children. USA Today reported that the school had sent out a letter with the choice to opt out after some parents had asked for the option to not have their children be part of the teachings. The letter to parents stated that giving the options was a way families could exercise their civil rights. Others called it a way families could exercise their racism.
The school under fire is the Maria Montessori Academy, a charter school in Ogden, in Utah. Outrage followed the message from parents and others in the community. The NAACP reached out to the school director to invite him to sit down and talk about the decision. In another post on Facebook, the director expressed his desire to have the school teach the Black History Month lessons in his school.
The school has since backtracked on the decision to offer an opt out for students. The situation does raise the question for many: at what point is it an expression of liberty and not an expression of exclusion or racism? Parents have the option to opt out of sex ed classes, allowing their kids to watch certain historical movies in school, participate in some athletic activities, and other situations where teachings or activities could be contrary to what or how a family would like to teach the subject.
So, is allowing students the choice to opt out of certain school lessons a right we all have or a slippery slope into an unknown curriculum? I'm assuming the school would still teach regular historical lessons that involve black culture in the United states and the world and that the 'opt out' was to skip extra lessons that wouldn't normally be part of the classes. But, does that make it any better?