INDIANA APPROVED: Parents of primary school kids can reject Black history lessons

A letter sent to Indiana parents with a directive to sign and return if they choose to decline the lessons for their kids went viral.

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An elementary school in Indiana sparked controversy this weekend after a letter sent by a school counselor went viral. The letter gave parents the option to decline to participate in Black History Month lessons at the school.

“In honor of Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, I will be coming around and teaching lessons related to equity, caring, and understanding differences,” wrote Benjamin White, the counselor at Sprunica Elementary School.

“Studies show that students who have a greater understanding of diversity in the classroom and outside world will demonstrate improved learning outcomes such as improved grades, better peer relationships, and greater career success later on,” White added. “These lessons can provide a great impact on students and help facilitate a better learning environment for all.”

The letter ended with a directive telling parents that if they allow their child to participate in the lessons that they don’t need to reply, but if they choose to opt-out to sign and return the letter.

The superintendent of that school district, Emily Tracy, said that while the letter was real, her office was still “gathering more information on the matter,” according to NBC News.

“Our district supports teaching about the facts in our history, including historical injustices,” Tracy said. “We are and will continue to be committed to having compassion for all and supporting an education community that will allow all students, staff, families, and community members the opportunity to feel welcome.”

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Indiana is one of many states that is pushing to ban “critical race theory,” which is commonly only taught in colleges and law schools. Many conservatives are reportedly using the term as a catch-all for almost all lessons on Black history and LGBTQ subjects.

“Ideology that will plant the seeds of self-hatred in our children,” one parent told the Indianapolis Star.

The Star noted that the state’s legislature will soon decide whether to pass two bills that will ban public K-12 schools from teaching about white privilege or teaching that the United States was founded as a racist or sexist nation.

The proposals would also require students be taught that “socialism, Marxism, communism, totalitarianism, or similar political systems are incompatible with and in conflict with the principles of freedom upon which the United States was founded,” and that they are detrimental to the country.

Many of these bills are packaged as parental transparency in which schools will be required to post lists of all their teaching materials online, including books, articles, and videos.