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Brown County Schools investigating letter giving 'opt out' option for Black History Month lessons

Brown County Bus, Sprunica Elementary School
Sprunica Elementary School
Posted at 11:25 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 18:43:34-05

BROWN COUNTY — Brown County Schools says it is looking into a letter sent to parents and guardians of Sprunica Elementary School students this week that gives them the option to opt-out of lessons about Black history.

The form, shared with WRTV by a parent, asks parents to sign if they do not wish for their child to receive the lesson.

It reads, "Studies show that students who have a greater understanding of diversity in the classroom and outside world will demonstrate improved learning outcomes such as improved grades, better peer relationships, and greater career success later on. These lessons can provide a great impact on students and help facilitate a better learning environment for all.

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"If you would like your child to receive these lessons in class, then you do not have to do anything. If you would like to opt your child out for receiving these lessons, then sign the form below and have your child return it to the school to give to the teacher."

Brown County Schools Superintendent Emily Tracy issued a statement indicating the district is looking into the matter and does not allow students and parents to opt-out of its required curriculum.

She added that the district supports teaching "facts in our history including historical injustices."

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Tracy sent the following statement to WRTV:

Our district supports teaching about the facts in our history including historical injustices. We are and will continue to be committed to having compassion for all and supporting an education community that will allow all students, staff, families and community members the opportunity to feel welcome. We do not allow students and parents to opt out of required curriculum, including instruction on social studies and histories. Any decision related to parental consent and curriculum determinations are made in accordance with the law. We are looking into the matter to determine the justification for the language included in the letter. We will respond to any parental concerns on an individualized basis.

It's not clear exactly when the letter was sent.

Additional details were not immediately available.