Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

A charter school in Utah will no longer allow parents to decide for students to opt-out of the Black History Month curriculum.

Prior to the ruling, Maria Montessori Academy received backlash for giving parents the option to have their children not participate in the school’s lesson plans.

The school’s director, Micah Hirokawa, told the Standard-Examiner that all students must participate in the curriculum now.

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“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.

According to the Standard-Examiner, on Feb. 5, Director Hirokawa was asked by a few families not to have their children participate in the Black History Month activities. 

He then sent out a letter allowing students to not participate in the school’s annual curriculum. 

This decision changed after receiving backlash and believing that all students should learn about Black History Month and the practices of justice, diversity, and equality.

“Celebrating Black History Month is part of our tradition,” Hirokawa said in the Facebook post. “We regret that after receiving requests, an opt-out form was sent out concerning activities planned during this month of celebration.”

“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.”

Hirokawa shared that the charter school for elementary and middle school students includes Black History Month to their history and social studies classes.

The classes, including the curriculum, highlight African-American figures’ achievements in United States history. 

The Standard-Examiner mentioned that the Facebook post received comments made by individuals who support Hirokawa’s decision to no longer allow students to opt-out of the curriculum.

“I was appalled to see the form sent out that allows parents to opt their kids out of this and to hear that this is all because some parents have requested it,” Rebecca Bennett, a parent at the school, commented on the Facebook post.

“I echo others who are disappointed to hear this was even ever made an issue in the first place by some families in our school’s community.”

Written ByLauren Akabori

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