Students at a Jacksonville, Florida high school protested on Monday demanding that their African American history course be taught year-round.
Police were called to Terry Parker High School, according to First Coast News though they don't report by who, when a group of about 10 students staged a sit-in to urge the school to change their current half-credit, semester-long black history course to a full-credit, year-long course.
In an Instagram video taken in the classroom, sophomore Angelina Roque, who said she organized the protest, tells authorities that calling the police won’t silence her. A man can be heard telling her and the other students to “please get out of here now.”
Students told CBS 47 that the subject matter deserves more attention and that all of their classmates could benefit from it. Roque said they protested to “make them hear us, make them see us, make them listen to us.”
Terry Parker High School and other schools in the Duval County Public Schools district only offer the class as a half-credit class, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told the outlet. In a statement to CBS 47, Vitti said the students won’t be punished for protesting, rather they are willing to consider extending the course:
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 year-long 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. Students who participated in the sit-in will not face disciplinary action.
Students and their parents met with school administrators on Tuesday. Their next step is to write a proposal before the district begins working with the state on standards, staffing, costs and other logistics.
Roque told CBS 47 how important the change would be for the school.
“I’m trying to improve the education system,” Roque said. “[To] be able to have a full course of African American history, that would honestly make a big difference. It will help the cultural gap.”