An all white conservative-led school board in the predominantly white suburban area of St. Louis, Missouri, voted to drop elective courses on Black history and Black literature, months after rescinding an anti-racism resolution, the Associated Press reports.
The Francis Howell School Board voted 5-2 on Thursday to drop the courses that had been offered at the three high schools in the district since 2021.
More than 100 students took the courses this semester.
All five members who voted to drop the courses were elected last year and in April this year. Their campaigns were backed by Francis Howell Families, a conservative PAC that opposed the courses. The group claims the courses involve critical race theory even though CRT is not taught in K-12 schools.
“I do not object to teaching black history and black literature; but I do object to teaching black history and black literature through a social justice framework,” Board Vice President Randy Cook Jr., said in an email to AP on Friday. “I do not believe it is the public school’s responsibility to teach social justice and activism.”
Several speakers slammed the board’s decision to drop the course at Thursday’s meeting.
“You’ve certainly taught me to not underestimate how low you will go to show your disdain toward the Black and brown communities’ experiences and existence,” Harry Harris, a Black father, said.
Outside the meeting, parents and students chanted, “Let Them Learn!”.
In July, this same board voted to revoke an anti-racism resolution that said the school district would “speak firmly against any racism, discrimination, and senseless violence against people regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ability.”
The resolution was adopted in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by police, AP noted.