Utah Charter School Cancels Black History Month Opt Out

Feb 8, 2021, 9:35 PM | Updated: Feb 9, 2021, 12:14 am

NORTH OGDEN, Utah – A Utah charter school canceled an option that would allow students to opt-out of a Black History Month curriculum following some serious backlash.

The charter school said 100% of families will participate in Black History Month and it will work with concerned parents individually in the future.

But right now other concerns have been raised, like has Utah made enough progress in equity and inclusion?

“We hoped we were at a better place of including other people’s histories,” said Betty Sawyer, head of the NAACP in Ogden. She is among many who were deeply concerned over the initial decision that allowed parents to have their students opt out of the Black History Month curriculum at Maria Montessori Academy.

“You cannot look at history in this country without being able to tell a story about Blacks in history,” said Sawyer.

On Friday, the charter school sent out a letter that said parents would be allowed to exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month. A move Sawyer said felt more like the opposite of civil rights.

“We work for decades trying to provide equity and inclusion on these issues in, not only social studies curriculum but others because the history of Blacks in American has been excluded, watered down and whitewashed for so long,” said Sawyer.

Over the weekend, the school issued a statement, which 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.”

However the decision did not come before sparking criticism from the community, including Rep. Blake Moore, who tweeted a statement that read, “Our children should learn and celebrate Black history without controversy.”

Utah Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchel called it “sickening and sad!!

Overall Sawyer was optimistic for more inclusive change. “Black history is American history — it is not something you do once a year,” said Sawyer.

Sawyer was also concerned about how the controversy affected Black students.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Andrew Adams

Surveillance video captures SLC Main Street gun assault, attempted abduction

A woman was hoping someone would be able to identify a stranger, after the man attacked her with a gun on a downtown street late Monday night and tried to drag her toward his car.
11 hours ago
Officers respond to the area of 11850 S. Rushmore Park Lane in Herriman. (Alex Cabrero/KSL TV)...
Josh Ellis and Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Officers responding to SWAT situation in Herriman

Police say officers have been deployed to a SWAT situation at 11850 S. Rushmore Park Lane.
11 hours ago
Yana Mukhataieva (left) and Bohdan Mukhataieva (right) read a book with their daughter Anna (center...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Donations sought as 300 Ukrainian refugees come to Utah

Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees will soon be calling Utah home, and a Salt Lake City organization is making sure they have a place to live and work when they reach the Beehive State. 
11 hours ago
FILE - The Rape Recovery Center helps victims of in a variety of ways. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera

Utah abortion laws unclear on reporting, verification process for sexual assault victims

Utah abortion bans require law enforcement and physicians to work together to help victims of sexual assault who are seeking abortion care, but KSL Investigators found the state has not established a uniform process to ensure that happens.
1 day ago
(Debbie Worthen/KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon

Two boys on a bike critically injured in South Jordan crash

Police say two children are in critical condition after an SUV driver hit them while they were in the bike lane on 11400 South in South Jordan.
1 day ago
Ormond Construction crews install secondary water meters in a subdivision in Woods Cross for the We...
Keira Farrimond and Dan Spindle, KSL TV

Metering Utah’s secondary water may help overuse in drought

During the driest months of the year, Utahns' yards can be a primary culprit for water overuse. But there's one thing some water districts are seeing make a big difference in how much customers use: secondary water meters.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah Voters 50+ Support Increased Access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Utah Charter School Cancels Black History Month Opt Out