Administrators at George Washington High School in Denver decided to reverse its policy on optional assembly attendance after parents expressed their disapproval of a letter allowing students to opt of the school’s Black History Month Program.
The Denver Post reports:
On Tuesday, George Washington parents were sent an emailed newsletter that referenced the school’s “African-American Heritage Month assembly” in March that included a form allowing them to opt their kids out of attending the event.
“Students who opt-out of the assembly will be supervised in the library for the duration of the assembly and will return to their second-period class at the conclusion of the assembly to continue the school day,” the letter to parents reads.
After the school and local community organizations began receiving phone calls and messages from outraged parents, George Washington High School principal Kristin Waters clarified the school’s policy. Waters explained that parents were always given the option of holding their children out of assemblies. The policy covered programs like pep rallies, athletics, extracurricular activities, and—of course—the unnecessary need to learn the history of 13 percent of the population.
Denver Public Schools has a problem with black people.
That’s not an opinion. It is the conclusion of an 82-page report commissioned by DPS and numerous other studies about Denver Public Schools. Among other things, the reports found:
- Black boys were much more likely to be suspended than white boys. Although 13 percent of DPS students are black, African American students made up 28 percent of suspensions in 2018.
- Study participants acknowledged that many of DPS’s young, white female workforce are afraid of African American males. “Because of this, some teachers just kick black students out of the classrooms,” explained one teacher. One day I counted six African-American males just hanging out in the hallway because they were kicked out of class.”
- Black teachers in the DPS system have a difficult time getting promotions and feel “isolated and unaccepted.”
- In 2018, 67 percent of black students graduated on time, compared to 78 percent of white students, Chalkbeat reports.
- Black students are given fewer resources than Hispanic students.
- Last year, 17 percent of black students in grades 1 through 8 scored at or above their grade level. 65 percent of white students were proficient in math.
- Just 10 percent of the students in high-level academic programs were black.
In a statement, Waters now says that students won’t be allowed to opt out of educational assemblies, although some might argue that all classes are actually “educational assembles.” What the hell is school except for one big educational assembly? How can you have a school where students can just opt out of learning shit?
“As we continue the important work of dismantling systemic racism, segregation and inequity in education, and specifically at George Washington High School, we appreciate our community holding us accountable,” Waters wrote in her letter to parents. “To expand the perspectives and learning opportunities for all of our students, it is counter-productive to promote the opportunity to opt-out of an assembly examining any part of history, culture or current events.”
It should be noted that none of the studies, news reports or letters to parents answered one question:
Why the fuck is black history being so ignored at Denver Public Schools that they need a one-day assembly?