FALCON, Colo., — A picture of a Black Lives Matter mural in a presentation at Bennet Ranch Elementary School is causing concern, according to a letter that the school sent to parents.
On January 19th and 20th, fourth graders at the school taking part in a lesson centered around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., following Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The presentation included depictions from the civil rights movement in which Dr. King led.
It also made “direct connections” with the Black Lives Matter movement of the current era, including a Black Lives Matter mural.
Here is the letter sent from the Principal and the Dean of Students:
A district spokesperson says, the letter was sent because the lesson violated a district policy rather than the contents of what was taught.
District 49, where Bennet Ranch is located, specifically has a policy for “controversial materials” that requires teachers who want to teach content that meets the district’s definition of controversial to gain approval from a principal or the district, if the material rises to that level.
Parents also can be brought in for input, or to sign off on the subject and they have the right to remove their student from a lesson if they desire.
In a statement, a District 49 spokesperson says: “As part of a lesson linking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement with current events, an art teacher included a street mural saying, “Black Lives Matter.” That phrase has many meanings and associations, including some that are controversial, so we should have followed our controversial materials policy and notified parents in advance. We regret that oversight. Our policy and process invite feedback, so the identification and subsequent correction honors our process, and does not make a value judgement on the content. Although we will continue including discussions of contemporary issues in many areas of our curriculum, we commit to host these conversations carefully in partnership with parents and seasoned with grace and humility. We are grateful that parents support us and trust they will keep holding us to the highest standard.”
It is unknown if the teacher faced any disciplinary actions, as the district says it does not comment on personnel matters.