Some parents of elementary school students in Queens say their children were barred from writing essays about Malcolm X for Black History Month. Marc Santia reports.
Some parents of elementary school students in Queens say their children were barred from writing essays about Malcolm X for Black History Month.
Parents of children at PS 201 in Flushing said the fourth-graders were given the assigment to write about a prominent black leader, choosing from a list of names.
One family says a teacher took Malcolm X's name off the list, saying he was violent and not a good choice.
Angel Minor said her 9-year-old son told her: "Mom, we were doing black history projects and I was told we can't do Malcolm X because he was violent."
Malcolm X spoke out for black Americans to fight for their rights "by any means necessary," including violence.
Councilman Rory Lancman said, "Certain historical figures might be complicated, might be a challenge to learn about, but kids need to learn about them."
Lancman and other community leaders met with parents and school officials Monday in what he described as a productive discussion.
"The school took them seriously," he said. "There's a plan for going forward. The school acknowledged there was a mistake to leave the kids with the impression that Malcolm X is somehow an appropriate subject to study."
Minor says fighting for what she believes in was a hands-on lesson for her son.
"I want him to know and understand, 'My mom took a stand because something was X'd out and my mom made a difference,'" she said. "I want him to know that black history really means something. To be black means a lot."
The Department of Education said in a statement, "Malcolm X is a historical figure and a hero to many New Yorkers that we believe should be celebrated in our schools."