Officials at a Utah charter school said ‘few families’ asked that their children be excluded from the Black History Month curriculum
A charter school in northern Utah is allowing parents to opt students out of its Black History Month curriculum and the decision has sparked a debate.
Micah Hirokawa, director of Maria Montessori Academy said on the school’s Facebook page on Friday that he “reluctantly” sent out a letter explaining families are allowed “to exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month at the school,” according to NBC News.
Hirokawa said “few families” asked that their children be excluded from instruction related to Black History Month, but he declined to give the exact number of parents or their reasons for making the request.-
“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.
Maria Montessori Academy, which serves elementary and middle school students, incorporates Black History Month into its regular social studies and history lessons throughout the month of February, according to Hirokawa.
Hirokawa, who is of Asian decent, said his social media post goes against his personal beliefs. As someone whose great-grandparents were sent to a Japanese internment camp, he said he sees value in teaching children about the “mistreatment, challenges and obstacles that people of color have had to endure in the United States,” NBC News reported.
Data from the Utah State Board of Education shows that of the 322 students attending the academy, only three students are Black while about 70 percent are white.
Some parents disagree with the school’s decision, arguing that giving parents the right to opt out of the Black History curriculum enables racism.