From Boston, Mass., to Seattle, Wash., school districts, schools, teachers’ unions and educators around the country are teaching the controversial activist curriculum, lesson plans, activities and, even, official coloring book of “Black Lives Matter at School” starting Monday, January 31, according to a national review of schools by Parents Defending Education.
In 2013, activists launched the #BlackLivesMatter movement in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. In the fall of 2016, teachers in Seattle Public Schools organized one the first “Black Lives Matter at School” events, amid controversy over political activism in the schools, particularly linked to a highly political organization.
The “Black Lives Matter at School” material often carries the official branding of the Black Lives Matter organization, which has been riddled with controversy over alleged misappropriation of funds and the purchase of multimillion-dollar homes by its founder.
To help parents, grandparents and others understand the reach of Black Lives Matter at School, Parents Defending Education has created a running list of school districts, schools and organizations promoting the program.
The review currently includes examples of participation from two teachers union organizations and schools in 12 school districts.
Parents and others are encouraged to submit tips about Black Lives Matter at School at www.defendinged.org, and Parents Defending Education will investigate the tip and post details to its IndoctriNation map.
National Education Association
- The National Education Association features an “EdJustice” page with a map of schools with Black Lives Matter at Schools Week activities or resolutions. Events include movie screenings, speakers, crafts and book readings.
Denver Public Schools
- The kindergarten and first grade teams at Centennial Elementary School in Denver Public Schools shared their excitement about their plans to participate in Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action again in 2022. Centennial Elementary School is the subject of controversy for its segregated playground hours for families “of color.”
Cherry Creek School District
- For the first week of February 2021 Cherry Creek Public Schools in Greenwood Village, Colorado is holding their annual Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. As part of the event, teachers are encouraged to wear shirts supporting Black Lives Matter and incorporate the doctrines of the movement into the curriculum. After parent backlash, the district deflected blame and claimed that materials had not been properly vetted.
District of Columbia
Lowell School in Washington, D.C., is in its fourth year of “Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.” This year included kindergarteners marching with BLM signs and chanting “Black Lives Matter.” The school shared it to their Instagram page here.
DeKalb County School District
- In January 2022, the front page of the DeKalb County School District’s website promoted a “Black Lives Matter at DeKalb Schools” week of action for January 31 through February 4.
Clayton County Public Schools
- During the week of February 21-25, 2022, Clayton County Schools linked their BLM Week of Action to Social Emotional Learning or SEL.
Evanston/Skokie School District 65
- The official Evanston/Skokie School District 65 website features an official “Black Lives Matter at Schools” page. Starting Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, north of Chicago, said it is teaching a week-long curriculum for grades preK-8, with lessons include “Queer, Trans-affirming, and Collective Value” for all grade levels.
- The book listed under resources for pre-K and kindergarten students is Race Cars: A Book about White Privilege.
- The book listed under resources for second graders is Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness, which declares, “Whiteness is a bad deal,” and says that “whiteness” means signing a “contract” with the devil, depicted with a pointy tale.
The School City of Hammond in Northwest Indiana (or at least Scott Middle School in that district) is participating in Black Lives Matter at School. According to this tweet shared by a school counselor, the school is giving out BLM @ school coloring pages and journaling sheets.
Jefferson County Public Schools
- The official website of Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky includes a section, “Why teach Black Lives Matter in schools?”
- The website includes: a link to “Black Lives Matter in Schools Resources,” provided by D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice; a link to “Black Lives Matter in Education-Week of Action Getting Started Packet,” by Black Lives Matter in NYC Schools; a link to “Black Lives Matter at School-Resources,” by Ed Justice; and a link to “BLM National Curriculum Folder,” by the New York Collective of Racial Educators, an organization based in New York City.
Boston Teachers Union
- On Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, the Boston Teachers Union sent eBulletin issue No. 108 to members with the message: “Black Lives Matter at School Week is coming up next week!” The newsletter includes a link to the official Black Lives Matter at School website: https://www.blacklivesmatteratschool.com. See: Link to PDF of the newsletter. The link to the newsletter is online at this link.
- The newsletter also included a link to a 36-slide Google Slides presentation with the official branding of the Black Lives Matter organization. It also included a link to a “toolkit” with the “13 guiding principles of the BLM movement,” student essay contest with winners receiving “free BLM @ School” t-shirt and publication of their essay in the official union newsletter and a “door decorating contest.”
- Educators are also getting the option to attend a Professional Development training by Telescope Network and receive professional development credits.
Ithaca, New York
The official website of Ithaca Public Schools features “Black Lives Matter at Schools Week of Action.”
Beverly J. Martin Elementary School promoted this activity for Tuesday, Feb. 1, stating: “Classes will be sharing with each other what the units of study include–change maker curriculum and social justice activism.”
Brooklyn School District 15
The principal of MS 447 sent an email to parents stating that the middle school will be celebrating the “Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action” for three weeks in February 2022. She explained that “students had lessons in Pack meetings and Advisory” in the first week and “will have grade assemblies with some explicit learning about the Black Lives Matter movement as well as student performances” in the second week. The third week will have “closing lessons.” In her email, the principal discussed the perceived importance of discussing race with the teachers at her school.
Pittsburgh Public Schools
- The official website of Pittsburgh Public Schools features “Black Lives Matter.”
Windham Southeast Supervisory Union
- The official January 2022 school district newsletter promoted “Black Lives Matter at School Week: A Week of Action,” from Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, through Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. It stated: “From January 31s through February 4th, WSESD schools will join other schools across the country to recognize Black Lives Matter at Schools: A Week of Action.” It said the week would include focusing on “racial justice in education.”
- The newsletter invited parents to “join the conversation” at a meeting of the school district’s “Parents and Caregivers for Equity” on Jan. 19, 2022, with a discussion on the “13 Guiding Principles of BLM,” with “an emphasis on how to approach the Principles with children of different ages.”
- The website included links to “BlackLives Matter Principles Activity Book” and Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Civil Rights Activity Book.”
- On Jan. 27, 2022, a parent posed a tweet with images from a Black Lives Matter coloring book, saying, “My son’s school (ages 5-11) is reading the book ‘What we Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Activity book’ which contains these images. It also contains suggestions 2 the kids 2 ‘make trans ppl feel loved” & to “spend time with people who are not the same age as you’.”
North Thurston Public Schools
- North Thurston Public Schools dedicated the week from Feb. 7, 2022, through Feb. 11, 2022, to support Black Lives Matter. The school district states on its website: “We celebrate Black Lives Matter at school during the first week of February. Teachers are provided resources to recognize black history and more.”
- The page include a link to a page headlined, “K-5 Teacher Lesson Plans for BLM Week At school [sic].” The page included a link to content created by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Learning for Justice” program.
- “Day 4,” “Seeing Systemic Barriers,” included this lesson: “Students identify a problem in their learning community and implement a systemic solution.”
- The school district’s equity page also promotes a conference, “Stay Woke,” for students.
Olympia School District
- The official website of the Olympia School District in Washington state published news that its school board issued a “Black Lives Matter at School Week proclamation,” declaring the board “calls on all district staff to teach with the resources, and engage in professional learning, grounded in the 13 Guiding Principles of Black Lives Matter at School.”
- It added: “The Board encourages educators, students and families to incorporate the 13 Guiding Principles of Black Lives Matter at School into their discussions about race and privilege all year long by teaching Black Lives Matter lessons aligned with Washington State Learning Standards.…”
Seattle Public Schools
- For the week of Jan. 31, 2022, through Feb. 4, 2022, Seattle Public Schools is promoting Black Lives Matter at School.
- Leschi Elementary School in Seattle Public Schools published an item in its official calendar, headlined, “Black Lives Matter at School Week,” stating: “Seattle Public Schools supports Black Lives Matter at School Week in solidarity with our students, families, educators, and community partners.”
Shoreline Public Schools
- The official calendar at Einstein Middle School in Shoreline Public Schools in Washington state features “Black Lives Matter at School Week,” for the week of Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, through Friday, Feb. 11, 2022.
Milwaukee Public Schools
- The official Milwaukee Public Schools website page features “Celebrate National Black Lives Matter Week of Action,” for the week of Jan. 31, 2022, through Feb. 4, 2022.
- It says: “The Milwaukee community will have opportunities to listen, learn, and add their voices to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) narrative in order to bring about positive change. Leading off Black History Month in February, the National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, January 31 – February 4, 2022, is designed to engage the community in topics that address four national demands and foster discussions and solutions to current issues.”