Two players from the Utah Jazz used their platform to pressure a Utah charter school to reverse a policy that would allow parents of students at the school to opt out of Black History Month curriculum.
Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert called out the Maria Montessori charter school in North Ogden, which said last week it would allow parents to opt out of the curriculum after a few families asked not to participate in the annual teachings.
“Reluctantly, I sent out a letter to our school community explaining that families are allowed to exercise their civil rights to not participate in Black History Month at the school,” director Micah Hirokawa wrote in a Facebook post, according to the Standard-Examiner of Ogden.
Hirokawa said the request “deeply saddens and disappoints me,” adding that he believes everyone — especially children — need to learn to appreciate and love those who are different from them.
Mitchell and Gobert slammed the decision by the school.
“I don’t know where to start,” Mitchell, 24, wrote on Twitter. “Racism is taught... and the fact that kids are being told by their own parents to not learn about black history and black excellence is sickening and sad!! And this is just part of the problem.....smh.”
I don’t know where to start.... racism is taught... and the fact that kids are being told by their own parents to not learn about black history and black excellence is sickening and sad!! And this is just part of the problem..... smh https://t.co/8vWkz0lZKQ— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) February 7, 2021
“Meanwhile kids can’t be opted out of the many lies that they are being 'taught' the rest of the year!” Gobert, 28, wrote.
The NAACP also put out a statement on the decision, noting that “Authentically teaching Black history as American history allows our youth to develop the social and emotional skills necessary to be inclusive of others and cultivates a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. While this decision was recently reversed, we find its very consideration troubling.”
Ogden NAACP statement:— Emily Anderson (@emilyreanderson) February 8, 2021
“While this decision was recently reversed, we find its very consideration troubling. We welcome the Maria Montessori Academy to engage in dialogue with the Ogden NAACP and revisit its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.” pic.twitter.com/yf639NS1OD
According to The New York Times, Hirokawa said the school now has full participation from all families in the curriculum.
“I spoke with the families and expressed the importance of the study and assured them that all the content shared would be ethical and rooted in the state social studies standards,” he said in an email to the Times.