Rochester City School District has declared next Friday to be a “Black Lives Matter” day for all students.
February 17th will be “Black Lives Matter at School: A Day of Understanding & Affirmation,” set aside to be “a day of education, dialog and action that will actively engage a significant number of educational communities throughout Monroe County in activities which support understanding and affirmation of Black Lives.”
The school district also preemptively responded to criticisms that “all lives matter,” writing, “Of course all lives matter. However, 57% of our students are black, and by almost every measure, people of color are not treated equally by our society. It is especially important to highlight the value of black lives in a society whose history involves centuries of slavery and denial of civil rights to black citizens, the impacts of which continue to this day.”
Though the school tells parents that the event isn’t connected to the national Black Lives Matter movement, links on the “resource toolkit” for the day include the website for the national movement and a TED talk with the founders of the movement.
The school resource toolkit splits up elementary level and secondary level students for teaching. The elementary level students are taught lessons like “Looking at Race and Racial Identity Through Critical Literacy in Children’s Books,” and use coloring book pages that say “Black Youth Matter.”
Secondary level students must go through lessons titled, “Racial Disparity in the Criminal Justice System,” “Using Editorial Cartoons to Teach Racial Profiling,” and “What is the School to Prison Pipeline?”
Students also watch Jesse Williams’ BET speech, as well as formulate responses as to why “All Lives Matter” isn’t a good response.
The children will also be recommended websites discussing Michael Brown, as well as encouraged to read things like “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies.”
Finally, there’s a link to the “Black Lives Matter Syllabus,” which touches on the “moral ethics of black rage and riotous forms of protest,” “the hyberbolic media myth of “black on black” crime,” and violent vs. non violent protest.
The full Google Doc for “Black Lives Matter at School Resource Toolkit” can be found here.