LOCAL NEWS

Utah Parents Drop Black History Curriculum Opt Out Request

Feb 8, 2021, 6:19 AM

NORTH OGDEN, Utah (AP) – Parents who sought to opt out their children from learning Black History Month curriculum at a charter school in northern Utah have withdrawn their requests.

Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden experienced a public backlash after announcing plans to make participation optional, the Standard-Examiner reported Saturday.

“We regret that after receiving requests, an opt-out form was sent out concerning activities planned during this month of celebration,” a statement from Academy Director Micah Hirokawa and the school’s board of directors said.

“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,” the statement said.

School officials said a few families requested the exemption from the instruction, but declined to say how many or specify the reasons given.

Betty Sawyer, head of the Ogden chapter of the NAACP, said she contacted the school Saturday morning about the decision to make Black History Month curriculum optional.

Data from the Utah State Board of Education shows that only three of the academy’s 322 students are Black, while 70% are white.

Hirokawa wrote on the school’s Facebook page Friday that he “reluctantly” issued a letter explaining families are allowed “to exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month at the school.”

The Facebook page appeared to have been removed Saturday.

In future, the school plans to handle parental concerns on an individual basis, Hirokawa said.

Discussions held with the parents will not result in a change to the Black History Month curriculum, which is based on Black history instruction using state social studies standards, Hirokawa said.

Hirokawa, who is of Asian decent, said the social media post went against his personal beliefs as the great-grandson of people sent to a Japanese internment camp.

“I personally see a lot of value in teaching our children about the mistreatment, challenges and obstacles that people of color in our Nation have had to endure and what we can do today to ensure that such wrongs don’t continue,” Hirokawa said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE: Bountiful Police (Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)...
Eliza Pace

13-year-old hit by car in crosswalk

A 13-year-old boy was hit by a car as he entered a crosswalk near 500 E. 2600 South in Bountiful around 3 p.m. Wednesday.
12 hours ago
FILE: Kathy Dalton takes time to teach her kids about nature while they explore the outdoors. (Sour...
Ashley Moser

Nature can help your little ones learn how to count

Preschool directors for the Stokes Nature Center say one of the best and easiest ways to teach your little ones how to count is by going on a walk.
12 hours ago
...
Ladd Egan

‘The Dignity Index’ launches pilot program in Utah to score messaging from candidates

A new project in Utah is trying to encourage political candidates to use more dignity and get rid of contempt by scoring the words and messaging they use.
12 hours ago
(KSL TV)...
Andrew Adams

Trial run of license plate-reading cameras in Tooele met with mixed reactions

Sophisticated license plate-reading cameras made their debut in Tooele, but they're already drawing concerns, and police are clarifying exactly how they work.
12 hours ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Get Gephardt: Accidental bill pay leaves woman fighting two years for a $1,387 refund

A Brigham City woman says she can't get a refund for money she accidentally sent to CenturyLink, so she decided it was time to Get Gephardt.
12 hours ago
These ballots that have been processed must be kept for two years. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

KSL Investigation finds few cases of election crimes prosecuted in Utah 

Nearly one in five Utahns polled believe midterm elections won’t be fair and accurate. As election officials seek to restore voter confidence, KSL Investigator Daniella Rivera went looking for the facts of election crimes in Utah.  
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Utah Parents Drop Black History Curriculum Opt Out Request