Friday, November 7, 2014

Protest against censorship: JeffCo CO students disrupt School Board Meeting by reading from History texts

Last night, the students of Jefferson County, CO, schools (JeffCo Students for Change)took to protest once again. A group of them showed up at the local Board of Education meeting, committing the "subversive act" of, openly, reading History textbooks out loud. When one was ordered to be escorted from the meeting by security, another would stand in his/her place and continue the action.

From Chalkbeat:

(Please note the student's use of Occupy hand signals...Good job!)

Jefferson County Schools is the 2nd largest school district in Colorado.  Based in Golden, CO, (and part of the Denver Metro area) the school board has gained international attention for recent protests by both students and teachers to the new school board's decisions.

At issue last evening, the Board of Education's curriculum review panel that will be charged with the review of all materials used in the Advanced Placement U.S. History courses required for college bound students. The panel's sole purpose is   "... to promote patriotic material, respect for authority, and the free-market system. In turn, the panel would avoid material about "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

In other words, the panel, through its discretion, could ban material that is integral to the understanding of history making those courses of little use for students;  leaving them grossly unprepared for higher learning.

Jefferson County students upset about a possible plan to review their curriculum, including Advanced Placement U.S. history, are again using civil disobedience to make their point.

Security guards escorted about a dozen students out of the school board’s Thursday night meeting in suburban Denver after a number of maneuvers, including standing up and reading from their history textbooks aloud during the proceedings.

Some students who went to the podium to speak in place of other students whose names were called during public comment period were removed, as was a woman who yelled from the audience in support. Another student was able to read a passage about Malcolm X, but after his allotted time at the podium was up, the microphone was turned off and he was removed.

After someone blew a whistle, about a dozen students stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. They then gathered in the hallway outside the meeting and chanted “We are the future, let us know our past” before squeezing into an elevator and leaving.

Tim Palese, a senior at Green Mountain High School who read the Malcolm X passage, said students wanted to show the importance of civil disobedience in the nation’s history.

“We wanted to prove that they don’t listen,” he said of the school board.

Among their demands, the students want the repeal of a curriculum review committee approved by the board last month that could study AP U.S. history. The board expanded public involvement on the committee in the face of criticism over a proposal from board member Julie Williams to encourage patriotism and downplay civil disorder in the teaching of U.S. history.

From the "Jeffco School Board Watch" website:

You may already have heard that students from JeffCo Students For Change protested the Board’s censorship and indoctrination efforts by following the American tradition of Civil Disobedience.

The students had all signed up to speak, but wanted to do it in a way that would highlight their demands (see the photo).

Witt did not like their efforts and eventually had security escort the students out of the locked building doors.

It takes real strength and moral compass to stand up to oppression whether it is by government or a school board who wants to censor truth in order to promote their own political agenda.

As for JeffCo Students for Change...

"Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger."
~ Psalms 8:2

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