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ABCUSD’S RESPONSE TO THE CONTROVERSIAL WHITNEY HS SLAVERY EXERCISE

A recent issue surfaced at Whitney HS last weekend that is important for the community to be aware of.

An 8th grade history lesson focusing on the origins and development of slavery was taught recently.

This Experential Exercise was developed by the Middle School U.S. History Development Team of the Teaching Curriculum Institute in 1991, a reputable national curriculum developer.

The teachers used this Experential Exercise as a supplement to the curriculum. Parents were notified in advance of the lesson and asked to contact the school if they had questions or were uncomfortable with the lesson.

One parent opted out of the Exercise for her student.

The school’s administration reached out to her but was unsuccessful in getting connected.

On Friday night, September 15th, Dr. Mary Sieu, Superintendent of the ABC Unified School District, was made aware of an article released by a major online news site regarding Whitney High School’s 8th grade history lesson.

Early the next morning, on September 16th, Dr. Sieu spoke with Board of Education President Chris Apodaca and Whitney High School’s Principal, John Briquelet, about the lesson.

Mr. Briquelet immediately read the communities’ responses related to the article, and comprehensively reviewed the lesson.

Mr. Briquelet communicated with the 8th grade history teachers that after careful review of the lesson, that the Exercise needed to be discontinued. The District and Board of Education were apprised of this decision on Saturday morning.

Mr. Briquelet met with Whitney High School staff early Monday morning, September 18th.

In this meeting, he informed the staff that the curriculum was dated and that the simulation was no longer a fitting approach to instruction on the slavery topic.

After the meeting with staff, he addressed the entire student body via Whitney Live, a television broadcast led by Whitney High School students each morning.

He spoke about the decision to remove the lesson from the curriculum.

He also informed the 8th grade classes, as well as the entire student body, that Wellness Coordinators would be available to discuss issues and concerns that may have resulted from the Exercise.

In July 2016, the California Department of Education adopted a new History-Social Science Framework. The final publication has not yet been released to the school districts. This year, ABCULSD will also be adopting new textbooks and materials to meet the new History Social Science Framework.  Efforts are already in the works by Academic Services for the History-Social Science textbook adoption process.

Whitney High School has eliminated the lesson from its 8th grade history curriculum.  The teachers will collaborate to design a better, more meaningful, and culturally proficient lesson on the sensitive topic of slavery in the United States.

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One Response to ABCUSD’S RESPONSE TO THE CONTROVERSIAL WHITNEY HS SLAVERY EXERCISE

  1. Benoj Reply

    September 25, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Why are you just now discontinuing it! According to the principal, this re-enactment has been going on for the last ten years and he’s had no problem with it. The ABC school board has had no problem with it. The Social Studies teachers still don’t have a problem with it. Many current and former students and their parents don’t have a problem with it. Why are you discontinuing it now if it’s been going on for the past ten years with on objections.

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