Sarasota school district pulls ‘BLM’ passage from 5th grade textbooks

Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) — A “Black Lives Matter” passage has been pulled from textbooks in Sarasota County Schools. In a letter to parents last week, district officials explained the text “contained content that may be controversial and in conflict with the Florida Dept. of Education’s requirements,” specifically its recent ban on “Critical Race Theory.”

“It was discovered that there was a small part of the text in a vocabulary exercise for fifth-grade students within the textbook that had some information in there that, according to the instructional planning requirements from the state, that is aligned with CRT and that should not be and could not be something that was taught in our classrooms,” explained Dr. Harriet Moore, the Director of Innovation and Equity for Sarasota County Schools.

The passage was part of the English/Language Arts curriculum for fifth-grade students. The vocabulary practice text titled “Personal Narrative” shared the story of a father and child attending a “Black Lives Matter” protest in June 2020. Different vocabulary words in the exercise included, “dissent,” “anecdotes,” “constrained” and “redemption.”

The passage with those same vocabulary words was replaced with a story of friends marching in protest during the Civil Rights Movement. The text’s new title is “May 5, 1963.”

Courtesy: Sarasota County Schools

Dr. Moore explained the change.

“I think the major difference in the two was the mention of ‘BLM’. I think, bottom line, that was the issue and the concern and it is very clear and evident within our state and our country that ‘BLM’ is closely associated with ‘CRT,'” Dr. Moore said.

Parents opposing the district’s decision feel they’re censoring the truth.

“I understand this is a state law, but I think it is insanity,” Sarah Parker with BLM Manasota Chapter said. “I think that they are trying to erase history and you can’t do that. If you want our country to move forward, we have to remember it.”

Parent Share Kiser was also disappointed with the change and feels for educators who might find themselves caught in the middle of the controversial topic.

“It is not ok to punish them or to threaten them or make them feel intimidated for teaching the fact, for teaching history whatever that looks like,” Kiser said. “It is what it is, it is what happened, it is factual, it is objective and that is what we should stick with.”

District officials tell 8 On Your Side they review all curriculum items. However, they explained this passage in particular wasn’t completed by the publisher until after the review process.

“This particular portion had not completed when the textbooks were adopted and so that’s why it was only just discovered,” Dr. Moore said. “But as soon as it was discovered, the district along with the Department of Education, the publishers, our attorneys and everyone at the district level were involved with addressing it immediately.”

“For us, what is important in all things, we want to make sure that we are equitable and everything that we do and here in our district, one of the frameworks of what we are focused on is ensuring that all of our environments are environments that foster a sense of belonging,” she added. “That they are inclusive and that the dignity of everybody is honored and that is what we aim to do and everything that we do including in this situation right here,” she continued.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss