LAKEWOOD — As expected, hundreds of high school students left their homeroom this morning to join a week’s long protest against a proposed curriculum review committee they believe could lead to censorship.
But unlike the other protests that have unfolded across the sprawling suburban county, most Lakewood students returned to class after about 20 minutes.
By 9:40 a.m., more than half of the protesters were headed back to class. Some students are expected to return to the busy street throughout day during off periods.
Student organizers at Lakewood, who took great lengths to both showcase their concerns but not interrupt classroom learning, said they were happy how their peers were behaving.
As the protests, which began last Friday, have grown, it’s become apparent that a growing number of students have used the opportunity to ditch class than familiarize themselves with the issues.
“We wanted to find a way to do without actually missing school,” Ana Fairbanks-Mahnke, a Lakewood junior, told Chalkbeat Wednesday. “All of us really value our educations.”
Other schools expected to protest today included Bear Creek and Columbine high schools, The Denver Post reported this morning.
Of the Jefferson County neighborhood high schools, only Jefferson High School has not led some action against the proposal. A Facebook page indicates students there will walkout Sept. 29.
If formed, the proposed panel, which came out earlier conversations among board members regarding standards and assessments, would start its work by reviewing the new Advanced Placement U.S. history course. Architects of the new framework believe teachers should spend more time teaching major arcs and themes of U.S. history and spend less time on memorization of key dates and figures. Conservative critics, like Williams, believe the course is revisionist history and portrays the nation in a negative context.
The proposal, which was first presented earlier this month, was tabled at the same Jeffco school board meeting.
Williams, in a statement earlier this week, said critics of the proposal are misinterpreting her intention.
It’s unclear when the board, which has been at odds with the Jefferson County community for nearly a year, will take up the issue again.
CPR education reporter Jenny Burdin tweeted there are currently no plans for the board to take up the issue at its Oct. 2 meeting. The same students rallying throughout the week have pledged to be at the meeting to more formally voice their concerns.
While Jeffco officials confirmed the topic isn’t on the Oct. 2 agenda yet, that could change, they said.
Update: This post has been updated to clarify that it appears a growing number of students walking out of schools have used the opportunity to simply miss class than lodge participate formally in the student led protests.