For two weeks Denver high school students and teachers have been protesting. The issue is not sports funding or school lunches or any other cause in which students are usually involved. Their cause is important; the Denver school board wants to censor history. Students have boycotted classes, and teachers are calling in sick. Parents have joined their children in marches, and by attending school board meetings.
The conservative members of the Jefferson County School board are attempting to change history. They want to teach along the lines suggested by the Republican National Committee and other conservative educators. Board member Julie Williams said that they were not attempting a form of censorship, but were trying to teach only the ‘positive’ side of past events.
Students, parents, and residents believe that the conservative board is attempting to influence students towards their political views.
The most famous person to change the way history was written was Adolf Hitler. In the United States Texas has changed its state history to reflect the positive action of the conservative movement.
What the board wants to remove are references to “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”
If these board members studied history at all, they would be ashamed at their attempt to remove some of the most important historical changes in our nation. Our very nation was formed because of ‘civil disorder.’ ‘Civil disorder’ is the reason our soldiers are no longer fighting in Vietnam.
It appears they want to remove all references to Abraham Lincoln and his efforts to abolish slavery; that’s social strife.
Disregard for the law cannot be taken literally. When laws are past that violate the Constitution, or laws which force punishment for some and create immunity for others, they must be rescinded. Disobedience to these laws is honorable.
The board wants the focus to be on free enterprise, individual rights, and respect for authority.
They sound like good ideals, but let’s take a look at what they actually mean.
Free enterprise is a synonym for ‘capitalism.’ Accounts by historians and financial experts alike state that capitalism has failed. It has created an enormous chasm between rich and poor; and it’s growing still.
Individual rights must be respected as long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. And only rights guaranteed by the Constitution stand up to close scrutiny.
Respect is the most important word in the English language. But, respect must be earned. Respect for authority cannot be expected if those who have power over us abuse the privilege. Our nation’s history is filled with stories of legal officials who abuse their power for personal gain. Our government in Washington does not receive respect; they continually and blatantly use their power to enhance their wealth, and maintain a position of power.
We are a nation of people who demand to be heard. The protests of those affected by the proposed school board changes not only have the right to take their issues to the school board; the board must also listen to them.
The Jefferson County School Board has made one concession; they will now include students, teachers and board-appointed community members on its curriculum-review board. However, this has not appeased those protesting. They continue to want the Denver School Board to trash its plans to change curriculum guidelines, and rewrite history.