Black British writers, books

Change of Heart: Francis Howell School District Reinstates Black Studies Courses

Standing up for what's right works....

Just a week after an all-white Missouri school board ditched Black studies courses, officials announced a change of course.

The school board at Francis Howell School District announced on Dec. 28 that both Black history and Black literature electives will be available for the 2024-25 school year, KSDK reports. On Dec. 21, the board, led by Adam Bertrand, decided to remove the classes in a 5-2 vote, citing its inclusion of content from “Social Justice Standards: The Teaching Tolerance Anti-Bias Framework.”

Following protests from angry parents and students, a petition with over 3,000 signatures helped change the minds of board members.

“After thorough discussions, we believe there is an appropriate path forward to offer Black History and Black Literature with an updated curriculum standard in the 2024-25 school year,” a joint statement from Board President Adam Bertrand and Superintendent Kenneth Roumpos said.

The board claimed there was some confusion with their decision. Roumpos said district leadership, including himself, sees great value in the courses and wanted to ensure they returned somehow.

“We’re committed to finding a way to do that in a way that hopefully the board would be supportive of, Roumpos said. ” We think they are important and can be offered for all of our students throughout the district.”

As the issue created headlines, the NAACP of St. Charles County planned on hosting a press conference on the same day of the reversal.

“We are confident in our academic team’s ability to bring forth a curriculum that is rigorous and largely politically neutral—one that will meet the Board’s approval on a timeline that prevents interruption of course offerings,” the district said.

The initial decision is still raising some eyebrows from parents. According to Fox 2 Now, Miranda Bell said she was furious and questioned the motives. “Along with taking down the antiracism resolutions, just like what are you saying? What are you saying? Were OK with racism? That’s the message that’s coming across,” she said.

In July 2023, the same board revoked an anti-racism resolution adopted after the 2020 killing of George Floyd and had copies removed from school buildings.