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Students writing exams in the classroom, Cape Town, South Africa

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Every February, many schools across the nation celebrate black excellence through various Black History Month programs. Oftentimes, students will dress up as a pioneering figure and share how that particular person’s accomplishments impacted history. In North Texas, one middle school has come under fire for incorporating present day social injustices into their Black History Month presentation.

During an assembly at Coyle Middle School in Rowlett, TX, students held signs which read: “Black Lives Matter,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and “The Whole System Is Guilty.” According to police Chief Mike Broadnax the students were participating in a “direct attack on police.”

Broadnax told CBS 11 News that “…allowing [the signs at the assembly] only promotes the discontent and hatred for police to continue.”

In an email to faculty and staff, the school’s African American principal Michael Bland, has apologized if the “cultural relevance” of the assembly was “misconstrued”.

Read Bland’s full email below:

While our campus celebrated the accomplishments of African Americans past, present and future, an unfortunate event occurred during the first performance. There was a sign used in one of the skits that displayed a highly politicized message. Although the intent of the performers was not to offend anyone’s political views, the use of a politicized message on a middle school campus was not the best choice.

The message displayed on the sign had political, social and cultural relevance as it relates to social studies curriculum and academic discourse, but was not appropriate and could be misconstrued as advocating for and encouraging students to take a political stance. It could also be taken offensively by law enforcement who risk life and limb daily for our personal wellbeing.

If any of the political messages on the signs offended anyone, I apologize on behalf of the administration. In closing, the Black History program was a success! The cultural exchange was embraced by the staff, students and community members that attended. I hope this apology finds everyone in the best of spirits. Have a great weekend!

Beauties, let’s talk. Should authorities have the right to take offense and “police” what students are taught in school about law enforcement? Do you think the assembly reinforced negative connotations associated with the police?

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