Indiana school counselor informs parents that their children can choose to opt out of Black History Month lessons

According to the district, it is gathering more information about the matter.

Indiana school counselor informs parents that their children can choose to opt out of Black History Month lessons

A memo sent by one of the school's counselors to parents allowing them to decline Black History Month lessons was causing controversy in Indiana.

Benjamin White, Sprunica Elementary School's counselor, wrote that "In Honor of Black History Month, Valentine's Day and Teaching Lessons Related to Equity, Caring and Understanding Differences" in a memo.

This memo then points out the benefits of such topics being covered in the classroom.

White stated that studies show that students with a better understanding of diversity in the classroom as well as outside will have higher learning outcomes, such as better grades, peer relationships and career success. These lessons can have a huge impact on students and create a better learning environment.

The memo concluded with the following: "If your child would prefer not to receive these lessons, then please sign the below form and have them return it to school for the teacher to sign."

This week, the memo circulated via social media and provoked backlash against Brown County School, which is about 40 miles south from Indianapolis.

Tuesday's statement by Emily Tracy, Brown County Schools Superintendent, acknowledged the memo. She also stated that district officials are "gathering additional information about the matter."

Tracy stated that "our district supports teaching about facts in our past, including historical injustices." "We will be continuing to have compassion for all, and support an education community that allows all students, staff and community members to feel welcomed."


 

White did not respond immediately to a NBC News request for comment Wednesday.

Republican lawmakers and governors have worked to limit discussion of race in public schools. Some are now focusing on curriculum transparency. Schools would be required to post online lists of all their teaching materials, including articles and books.

These measures are part of conservatives' push to counter what they see as the threat from critical race theory, an academic study of institutional racism. While critical race theory is usually only taught in universities and colleges, activists want to ban it from public elementary and high school.

Three anti-critical race theories bills in Indiana included curriculum transparency provisions as of last month.


 

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