New York (CBSNewYork) — Parents are outraged after students at a Queens elementary school were allegedly told they couldn’t write reports about Malcolm X as part of a Black History Month assignment.
Last week, a technology teacher told fourth-graders at P.S. 201 in Flushing to chose a prominent African-American figure to write about.
Initially, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X were all considered acceptable options, but that changed after the teacher realized Malcolm X had a criminal history and supported change by any means necessary, CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported.
“My son came home one day and said, ‘We can write about a civil rights leader, but we can’t write about Malcolm X because he was bad,'” parent Frank Brown said.
“He couldn’t write about Malcolm X because he was deemed violent,” added another parent, Angel Minor.
Parents demanded a meeting with the teacher who made the comment and the school’s principal, which took place Monday morning.
The parents were joined by members of the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.
“You need to educate yourself before you deny somebody the history because that’s the greatest form of oppression is to deny somebody the history,” Councilman Andy King, D-Bronx, said.
“It was a mistake to let kids leave school thinking that it was inappropriate to do a report on Malcolm X,” said Councilman Rory Lancman, D-Queens, said. “He’s an important figure, not only for the black community, but also in American history,”
Parents said they want the Department of Education to review its curriculum regarding African-Americans and their contributions to U.S. history.
They are also seeking an apology, which after Monday’s meeting, they seem to be one step closer, Finch reported.
“The teacher herself is due to apologize,” Minor said. “We will see what happens from there.”
Also, the fourth-graders will participate in a Black History Month assembly to address the situation.
Officials from the city’s Department of Education told CBS 2 they are looking into the matter.
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