Parents and community members who have complained about Virginia’s high school curriculum say it lacks historical context and teaches students a false narrative of the past.
In a letter sent Tuesday, Parents and Educational Leaders for the Commonwealth of Virginia, or PELV, said it was a violation of the First Amendment to teach students that slavery and Jim Crow were “states rights” and not a “state subject.”
The PELU is also asking for the school district to clarify what the “history of Virginia” was in 1776 and whether it was “true or false” to teach that the state had no slaves, the group said.
In the letter, parents also said that while students should be able to learn about the Civil War, the “vast majority” of Virginians are “disheartened and confused” by the curriculum.
“Many children who attend this school do not understand that slavery existed, that Jim Crow existed, or that the Ku Klux Klan was a group of white supremacists,” the letter said.
“Students should learn to understand the facts and context of the Civil Rights Movement.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and school board members are considering an updated curriculum that could include more historical context.
McAuliffe said in a statement Tuesday that he is committed to “making Virginia a welcoming and inclusive state for all students and all citizens.”