South Florida School Demands Parent Consent for Black History Month Events

The Daily Beast/Miami Dade Public Schools
The Daily Beast/Miami Dade Public Schools

Black History Month has now become an educational target in Florida schools.

In the wake of the state’s strenuous laws on education, parents in one school system are now required to give their consent for their children to learn about the month-long celebration, which has been federally recognized since 1976.

According to Miami ABC affiliate WPLG, parents of students at IPrep Academy were asked to sign permission slips in order for their children to participate in Black History Month “class and school wide presentations showcasing the achievements and recognizing the rich and diverse traditions, histories, and innumerable contributions of the Black communities.”

If parents do not sign the forms, students do not learn about Black History Month.

“I was shocked,” IPrep parent Jill Peeling told WPLG, explaining that she thought that maybe she misunderstood the purpose of the form. “It’s a step too far. This is Black History Month. This is supposed to be a celebration.”

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Miami-Dade School Board member Steve Gallon told the outlet that the new rule is an addition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which was initially signed into law in March 2022. The law, infamously known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, bars “classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

In 2022, the Miami-Dade School Board held a contentious meeting where members voted against recognizing October as LGBTQ+ History Month. At the time University of Miami professor Alberto Cairo said the vote was an effort to “distort” the truth, like the whitewashing of Black and Jewish American history. The board voted against the LGBTQ+ celebration again in 2023.

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WPLG reports that an extension was added to the bill in November, which expanded parental rights in education whenever outside presenters come to instruct on school property.

In May, Miami-Dade Public Schools came under fire for having parents sign release forms for their children to participate in district-sponsored book fairs, the Miami Herald reported. Children could not attend book fairs if their parents didn’t sign the permission slips, which also stated that parents couldn’t hold the district accountable if their children were to choose books the parents didn’t like.

“My first thought was disappointment. Not for my child, but for this community,” parent Brooke Sussman told the Miami Herald.

Outlet WPLG said the issue regarding Black History Month and permission slips will be brought up during a committee hearing on Wednesday.

Neither IPrep Academy nor the Florida Department of Education immediately returned The Daily Beast’s request for comment Tuesday.

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