Students should protest curriculum censorship

Imagine reading through your history textbook and finding that pages are ripped out, cut up, and whited out. That’s what conservative school board members want to do in high schools across Denver, Colo.

According to Raw Story, hundreds of students from high schools all across Denver walked out of their classrooms last week to protest “the removal of all mentions of civil disobedience from texts and classroom materials intended for the teaching of Advanced Placement U.S. history.” Teachers protested by calling out sick, and shutting down two high schools. Since the protests, the superintendent said he would forward the students’ complaints to the school board.

These new board members believe that history teachers should emphasize nationalism and respect for authority in their lessons. Many conservatives oppose the current federal AP curriculum because they feel that it is biased in favor of liberals and their interpretation of history, Raw Story reported. They complain that the curriculum puts too much focus on the country’s history of oppression of the lower class and ethnic minorities. 

They want the class to put more attention on our founding fathers and captains of industry — people who conservatives consider to be the “trailblazers” of the modern world. But if you ask me, the trailblazers were the ones that broke the rules.

Consider some incidents of “civil disobedience” in our country’s history. We all are familiar with a little incident known as The Boston Tea Party, when citizens of the colony of Massachusetts trespassed on a British ship and threw all its cargo (tea) into the harbor. This was a way to protest that they had to pay taxes to Britain without representation. This demonstration led to a war for independence, ultimately establishing the United States of America as a sovereign state.

Women’s Suffrage, the Freedom Riders, the Underground Railroad – the list goes on. Each of these movements has shaped the country into what it is today. Think of where we would be if it weren’t for rebel rousers like Susan B. Anthony or Harriet Tubman. Would women have the right to vote without the drive of feminists who wanted to be treated equally?

Maybe, maybe not. Either way, someone had to be the first to do something about it. These individuals saw a problem in their world and refused to accept it. They realized they had the power to make things better for people, to make people change their minds.

It is absolutely necessary that high schools continue to teach these happenings in their curriculums. High school is supposed to prepare young adults for the harsh realities of the real world. Pretending that things are perfect, equal, and fair for everyone is no way to help a child grow into an independent, mature adult.

Kids need to realize they are not powerless. They need to learn about the impacts that have been made by generations before them, and that they are completely capable of doing the same.