Indiana school allows students to opt out of Black History Month


Source: Robert Gauthier/Getty

AApparently Indiana’s education system is struggling to honor Black History Month.

Last Tuesday, we reported the story of an Indianapolis teacher who thought it was a good idea to create a BHM assignment that involved asking students to draw pictures of black people picking cotton. Now, it looks like another educator is giving parents the option to completely exempt their children from attending BHM-related classes. Obviously that’s an excuse for white parents who think BHM is a critical theory of race to shelter their children in white purity and prevent them from learning evil in school. And by “evil,” I mean “all things that drive black history and white fragility.”

According to a screenshot of the form shared on social media, a Sprunica primary school counselor aptly named Benjamin White is the author of the letter to parents basically saying that while “February is a time to nurture and grow for our students,” white parents don’t necessarily have to care about their children growth know anything about the accomplishments of black people in America.

“In honor of Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, I will come and teach lessons related to fairness, caring and understanding differences,” the letter reads. “These lessons will take place during the weeks of February 14-25.”

White also mentioned studies that “show that students who have a better understanding of diversity in the classroom and in the outside world will demonstrate better learning outcomes such as better grades, better peer relationships, and greater professional success later.

OK, so maybe White should be a little loose here. He certainly appears to be pro-BHM, and it’s possible that those forms giving parents the option to opt out were required by the school or school district. After all, it doesn’t look like a regular education plan considering he’ll “come” to class to teach it.

Yet imagine if someone sent a letter to parents that allowed them to withdraw their children from lessons about the founding fathers because those lessons are whitewashed and make no mention of the fact that most of them were slaveholders and all believed blacks to be lesser. Imagine the outrage of white “patriots” who only really care about “division” when it comes to lessons that make them uncomfortable.

Also, let’s be real, the way Republicans and right-wing pundits have poisoned the words “equity” and “diversity” and made them clear indicators that CRT is being forced on their children, including those words in a form that allows parents forgoing BHM classes for their children is really the only incentive they need to check that “no” box and sign their names.

The optics are just plain bad, and black history should be just as necessary a learning curve as the rest of American history.


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