Yesterday, we told you about planned protests this morning by students at three Jefferson County high schools -- Pomona, Ralston Valley and Arvada West -- over a plan to promote patriotism in history lessons by downplaying civil disorder. Now, students from at least one more Jeffco high school are planning to join in today, with additional protests at other locations planned through the week. This follows a rally at the school district's Golden offices by students from Evergreen High. Videos, photos and details below.
As we've reported, the Jeffco school board, which took a hard right turn following last November's election, is proposing a committee to recommend changes to the history curriculum at the high school level. Here's an excerpt from the committee's de facto mission statement:
Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions.
Word of this stance prompted teacher sickouts at Conifer and Standley Lake high schools on Friday, with students taking to the streets to offer their support. Here's one Instagram video of the results as shared by Chalkbeat Colorado....
A teacher-sickout repeat was rumored for yesterday, but it didn't happen. Instead, a large group of Evergreen High School students took their complaints about alleged history-class censorship straight to the Jefferson County School District HQ, as seen in this 7News report:
A group of student leaders even got a sit-down with Jeffco superintendent Dan McMinimee. The moment was captured in this tweet by Fox31's Joshua Hans:
Jeffco superintendent meets with Evergreen students voicing their concerns over AP history oversight. pic.twitter.com/VYRlFF3Tdm
— Joshua Hans (@Jthans24) September 22, 2014
A delegation of four students subsequently presented McMinimee with a letter that reportedly reads in part: "I want honesty in my classroom. Teachers want honesty in the classroom."
Today, previously announced student protests are slated to take place on a staggered schedule: 8:20 a.m. at Pomona, 9:40 a.m. at Arvada West and 10:50 a.m. at Ralson Valley. In addition, the Arvada High School Walk Out Facebook page announces a protest there at 9:05 a.m. The intro reads:
The Jeffco school board is making some decisions that not only impact students, but are now impacting teachers. It's time we stand up for them like they have been for us! Join Arvada students in walking out of school after second period at 9:06 and lining up along Wadsworth with posters. Please make posters positive and remain simple: "Stand up for teachers!"
Don't forget to wear red!
That's not all. The Chatfield Walk-Out Facebook page reveals a planned rally at 8:10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, while the Lakewood High School Walk Out Facebook page shares information about a protest at 9:10 a.m. on Thursday. There's also a Wheat Ridge High School Walkout Facebook page, although it includes no information about an event at this writing.
Finally, the Jeffco Students Defending History Facebook page shares details for what's hoped to be a district-wide demonstration. The description reads:
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On Friday, September 26th, we invite all Jeffco students and teachers to go to school dressed as, representing a historical figure or movement that created "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law..." and by doing so made our country and world a better place.
Clearly, lots of students, if not school board members, believe protest is patriotic.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.