Florida High School Students Stage Sit In To Demand African-American History Be Taught Year Round

A student at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville, Fla., organized a sit-in with about 10 other students in hopes officials will allow the African-American history elective be taught year round. Currently, students can take the class for a semester or half  the year.  Organizer Angelina Roque said the purpose of this protest was simply to get officials at the Duval County school to “make them hear us, make them see us [and] make them listen to us.”

The high school sophomore said she thinks all students will benefit from the course being taught throughout the school year. “[The other students] risked being in trouble over a cause that we all truly think more people should be concerned about,” Roque said. Students and their parents met with administrators earlier this week to discuss the possibility of extending the class.  However, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said those who participated in the protest will not face disciplinary actions.

“Historically, Terry Parker and other high schools in Duval County has offered the course, but as a half-credit, not as a full credit … we will, and are certainly willing to offer it as a full-year course starting in the fall,” Vitti said. “I respect that students demonstrated self-advocacy ‎and used their voice to signal concerns about their education. If there is student demand for a full-credit and yearlong African-American-history course, then we should and will provide it to students. We will work through the process of developing and offering that course.”

According to Action News Jax, in order to get the ball rolling the request must first be placed in writing. Then Terry Parker High School officials must ensure the class meets state requirements, along with having enough teachers to teach the class and allocating a proper budget.

However, Roque thinks the paperwork and extra staffing will all be worth it if she gets her wish.

“Being able to have a full course of African-American history … that will honestly make a big difference. It will help the cultural gap,” Roque said.