Parents of students at Howard University Middle School in Washington, D.C. are confused after a number of social studies teachers were fired for reportedly teaching lessons about African American history to students.
When students arrived for school on Wednesday of last week, many of their parents came with them demanding answers as to why all three of the school’s social studies teachers were suddenly given their two weeks notice and then handed pink slips on Tuesday by principal Angelicque Blackmon, in the middle of class and in front of students.
“As parents, we just want to get some answers,” parent Dorothy Lowery told WJLA. “We deserve to know what’s going on.”
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According to the Washington Post, the teachers told local parent group Parents in Action on Jan. 22 that they were planning to resign after school administration denied their requests to include lessons on African American history in their curriculum. One of the teachers claimed that she was written up for teaching a lesson about Mayor Marion Barry around the time of his death in November. Before they could resign, school officials instructed the teachers to leave immediately.
“They were all escorted out by police officers, because they were trying to teach us things about our African heritage,” seventh-grader Kameron Gains-Gillens said.
According to the D.C. Public Charter School Board, the school is “allowed the sole discretion on specific academic decisions including the hiring and termination of their staff and teachers,” and maintained that it uses a “variety of methods — including reports, analysis and site visits — to ensure that public charter schools are providing quality educational opportunities to their students and are complying with the law.”