The saga over the proposed curriculum review committee for the new AP US History continued at the October 2nd Jeffco School Board meeting in Colorado. The Jefferson County school district known as Jeffco, is located just outside of Denver. Students from all over the district arrived en masse with a message for Fox News correspondent Gretchen Carlson, who referred to the protesting students as “punks”.
Students had this message for Gretchen Carlson: If exercising their first amendment right to protest makes them punks, then they are proud to be punks. Wearing buttons that read “Fox News Called Me a Punk,” students came forward to say thank you to the news outlet for the media coverage. They also wanted to set the record straight that they were not cutting class for fun, but to make a statement in such a way that their voices would be heard.
“We are simply protesting for our education and we’re protesting for our right to have an intellectual and critically taught class. And that is simply what we want. And if that makes us a punk, then I’m proud to be a punk. I am proud to stand up for our education.” said Dylan Johnson of Golden High School.
“We are using our first amendment right of speaking out about what we believe in,” added Michael Kerl, also of Golden High School.
“If standing up for our rights makes me a punk, then I am proud to be a punk so thank you Fox news,” stated Mali Holmes of Evergreen High School.
When questioned on why they protested during school hours, students replied that they did not cut class to get out of work. Ashlyn Maher of Chatfield High School said that they allocated the first three hours of class to protest at her school and then went back the last four hours. She clarified that the purpose was to bring attention to their cause.
Thomas Sizemore of Lakewood High School stated, “Lakewood was different because we didn’t want to skip class. We wanted to emphasize that we value education and believe in our cause.” According to Sizemore, most students at Lakewood protested during homeroom or their “off blocks” when they weren’t in class.
Regardless of the punk label, one thing was certain from their testimony at the school board meeting–Jeffco students speaking in opposition of the proposal were sincere and passionate in their opposition to a review committee.
The highly charged board meeting became heated as students and community members testified on the proposal that would create a curriculum review committee for the new AP History. Jeffco school board chair Ken Witt lost control of the meeting at times due to outbursts when testimony drew emotional reactions from both adults and students. An amended version of the proposal passed 3-2 which will give students a seat on the curriculum review committee.
A large security presence was in place to ensure no “punk behavior” occurred.