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Utah school walks back parents’ choice to opt out of Black History Month lessons

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 2/8/2021 KATE FELDMAN

A Utah montessori school made Black History Month optional for students, then quickly reversed course after backlash.

Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden announced Friday that, after requests from a “few families,” parents would be allowed to opt out of the lessons without any explanation, according to the Standard-Examiner.

School Director Micah Hirokawa said the request “deeply saddens and disappoints me,” but declined to tell the newspaper how many parents had asked to keep their kids from further education.

“We should not shield our children from the history of our Nation, the mistreatment of its African American citizens, and the bravery of civil rights leaders, but should educate them about it,” Hirokawa said.

a car parked on a city street: Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden, Utah, said last week that students would be allowed to opt out of Black History Month classes. © Provided by New York Daily News Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden, Utah, said last week that students would be allowed to opt out of Black History Month classes.

Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden, Utah, said last week that students would be allowed to opt out of Black History Month classes.


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Of the 322 students enrolled at Maria Montessori Academy, only three are Black, according to the Standard-Examiner. Almost 70% of students are white.

The school’s decision made national news and by Saturday, Hirokawa had already walked back making Black History Month optional.

“We regret that after receiving requests, an opt-out form was sent out concerning activities planned during this month of celebration,” he said in a statement to the Standard-Examiner. “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 school’s Facebook page has since been deleted.

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