Students in a North Carolina school district won’t be required to take an African American history course after a controversial decision.
The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education on Tuesday struck down a proposal to offer the mandatory class, according to video of the meeting.
The 7-1 vote came just before district leaders unanimously approved continuing the district’s so-called “infusion” plan, which included the addition of multicultural course offerings for high schoolers.
The outcome drew mixed reactions on social media.
Some comments appeared to support the decision.
“Great news.....finally some common sense from this crazy school board,” one person wrote on the Winston-Salem Journal’s Facebook page. “I agree a optional course would be a great idea but not mandatory.”
Another user said the African American history class “would be just another useless course that won’t be used once the student graduates high school,” according to a comment on the WXII Facebook page.
But the school board’s rejection alsowas criticized.
For Miranda Jones, “it absolutely felt like a stab in the back,” according to WGHP.
“When we look at what’s going on with black children: lack of engagement and the achievement gap, nothing should be optional,” Jones told the station. “We should do everything that we can to save this group of children.”
One Facebook user thought the course would increase understanding of other cultures.
“If it were mandatory and it should be, it would be beneficial to all students,” she wrote on the WGHP Facebook page.” It would force people to look at thing(s) from a different perspective.”
The school board’s adoption of the “infusion” plan introduces courses for “African American Studies, Latin American Studies, American Indian Studies and Ethnic Literature,” according to a school board document. They would all be electives, the Journal reports.
Before she became the sole school board member to vote in favor of the required class, Barbara Burke spoke in favor of both the history course and the infusion proposal, video shows.
“They’re both great concepts, and they both can coexist,” she said.
During that same discussion period, board chair Malishai Woodbury asked for fellow leaders to be “prudent” while there isn’t enough data to support the mandatory course, according to footage of the meeting.
“In the meantime, let’s move forward,” she said. “Let’s not wait to do nothing.”