High School Students use Civil Disobedience to Protest Censorship…of Civil Disobedience

Carey Wedler (TheAntiMedia)
September 24, 2014

JEFFERSON COUNTY, CO- On Tuesday, hundreds of students from 5 high schools across the Denver suburbs walked out of classes to protest proposed changes to the Jefferson Country School District Advanced Placement History curriculum. They waved signs outside of the district’s headquarters.

Following the election of a more conservative school board in November, the new 3-2 majority proposed that the course emphasize patriotism, the “free enterprise system,” and “respect for authority.” Additionally, the proposal would require an avoidance of discussing “civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law.” Image credit: YouTube

alaskareporterThe Tuesday protest followed an initial, though smaller, walk-out on Monday where roughly 200 students from Evergreen High School assembled outside of the Jefferson County School District administrative building. There, they delivered a letter to the Superintendent, McMinimee of the second largest district in the state, voicing their concerns.

In the letter, students wrote:

“I want honesty in my classroom…Teachers want honesty in the classroom.”

Lesley Dahlkemper, a school board member who opposes the new curriculum, stated

“It’s chilling…Does it mean Jeffco will no longer study the civil rights movement, the Boston Tea Party or women’s suffrage?”

A senior at Evergreen who attended the Monday protest, Mali Holmes, said the students came as “a preventative measure.”

The conservative school board and conservative groups across the country feel that the A.P. History curriculum is too progressive.  According to retired New Jersey teacher and conservative activist Larry S. Krieger , it offers a  “consistently negative view of American history that highlights oppressors and exploiters.”

The student protests came only days after numerous teachers at two other Jefferson County schools called in sick  not only in protest of the curriculum, but also long-standing disagreements with the new school board’s policy on salary raises and evaluations, kindergarten health curriculum disputes, and the board’s decision to hire a lawyer for itself and often hold meetings outside of the public’s view. Last Friday, 50 out of 117 teachers between Standley Lake and Conifer High Schools refused to work, prompting the two schools to close for the day.

Regarding the issue of censorship and related student protests, McMinimee promised to take the issue to the board  to voice the student’s concerns and Dr. Syna Morgan, chief academic officer offered:

“I can say in the future there will be a heightened degree of transparency on how this is carried out.”

At the Tuesday protest, Griffin Guttormsson, a junior at Arvada High School, said:

“It’s gotten bad…The school board is insane. You can’t erase our history. It’s not patriotic. It’s stupid.”

It seems many teachers, parents, and Americans across the country agree.

The protests are ongoing, with the largest taking place today. Here’s a video from the ground in Jefferson County:

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