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Colorado students prep for more protests

Schools close and more student protests loom as the fight over history curriculum continues.

Turmoil in Jefferson County, Colorado continues into another week, as two Colorado high schools are closed Monday and students plan a massive protest against a proposed history curriculum on October 1.

Students are planning to walk out of school on “count day,” when school administrators take attendance to help determine how much state funding they will receive. Students continue to organize their actions through social media. Two other Jefferson County schools closed last week because of teacher absences.

Eighty-one percent of teachers at Golden High School called in sick on Monday. Teachers are also concerned about a proposal that would tie pay increases to student test performance.

The hundreds of students who walked out of classes last week are also getting support from the College Board, which is in charge of the Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum under fire by the county school board’s conservative majority.

The College Board released a statement Friday in support of the students, saying, “Civil disorder and social strife are at the patriotic heart of American history – from the Boston Tea Party to the American Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement. And these events and ideas are essential within the study of a college-level, AP U.S. History course."

The College Board also said that if the district does not abide by the course standards, it can’t offer the course.

The proposal is currently tabled and is not currently on the agenda for the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday.

A member of the Jefferson County school board submitted a proposal that would prevent students from studying parts of the AP U.S. History course that might “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

Julie Williams, the school board member pushing for the change, has said that the proposal was meant to start a discussion about what she believes is an excessive emphasis on “race, gender, class, ethnicity, grievance and American-bashing” in the course.

Large portions of U.S. history could conceivably fall under that umbrella, from the Boston Tea Party to protests for women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, and protests against the Vietnam War. Discussions of slavery and the Native American genocide might also be marked as “American-bashing,” although the board has not offered an explicit list of what parts of the curriculum were not framed correctly.

Williams told local news station KUSA, "All I am asking for is for a committee to tell us what is in [the course], and then it's up to the board to decide what is appropriate for our kids.”