A “Black Lives Matter Week of Action” is underway at Prince George’s County Schools in Maryland — and on Monday, the first day of activities, wearing all-black clothing was encouraged, WTTG-TV reported.
District students and staff members are being asked to participate in activities and discussions about racial and social justice issues before, during, and after school hours as part of the week of action, which is a nationwide movement, the station said.
“We start this conversation at school because for many people and for many students, this is community. This is where you learn, this is where you talk to your peers,” Parkdale High School student Joshua Omolola told WTTG. “Maybe your professors and advisor that are going to advise you later on in life. So school is the most appropriate place to have these conversations.”
Is participation mandatory?
Participation in the Black Lives Matter Week of Action isn’t mandatory, only encouraged, the station said.
Does every teacher agree with the program?
No. In fact, a black teacher who didn’t want to go on camera for fear of retaliation told WTTG she doesn’t support Black Lives Matter Week of Action.
“I’m uncomfortable because I don’t believe in their 13 principles — and I’m an African-American,” the teacher told the station. “But I don’t believe in their cause. I don’t particularly want to try and teach anybody about their 13 principles because I don’t believe in their 13 principles. I’m also a parent, and my children go to Prince George’s County Public Schools, and I don’t want a teacher trying to teach my children about Black Lives Matters [sic].”
What are the 13 principles?
The 13 principles of the Black Lives Matter Week of Action are diversity, restorative justice, unapologetically black, black families, black women, black villages, globalism, loving engagement, empathy, queer affirming, transgender affirming, intergenerational, and collective value.
— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) February 4, 2018
What are other teachers saying?
“I haven’t had a kid to walk out of my classroom,” Neville Adams, an English and student government teacher at Parkdale, told WTTG.
He added to the station that while there are “heated discussions” in his classroom, the students “are really good with respecting each other’s opinions.”
Prince George’s County Public Schools was one of the first school systems in Maryland to pass this type of resolution, WTTG-TV reported in an earlier story.
What are district officials saying?
“I think this is something that our students and our families see every day, especially being a largely minority population,” board member Raheela Ahmed told the station after the unanimous vote to approve the BLM week. “We have 60 percent of our students that are African American, 30 percent that Latin/Latina, and this is something that they see and hear every day on the news and day-to-day lives. It’s something that we felt was really needed and necessary at this time.”
Amanya Paige, the board’s student member, told WTTG she doesn’t believe the Black Lives Matter Week of Action is “political.”
“I believe it is a movement to encourage minorities and African-American students to be proud of who they are and to embrace who they are because we live it every day,” she added to the station. “I think that it’s important to understand our culture and understand where we are coming from in order to be productive citizens.”
In regard to the 13 principles, the board’s resolution they “are a means of challenging the insidious legacy of institutionalized racism and oppression that has plagued the United States since its founding,” the station reported.
(H/T: The American Mirror)