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Ames parent concerned over curriculum titled 'Black Lives Matter' being taught at school

Dr. Anthony Jones, Director of Equity for the Ames Community School District, says the teachings are not associated with the national Black Lives Matter movement.

AMES, Iowa — The Ames Community School District is kicking off Black History Month with a week dedicated to improving schools for Black students, teachers and families. 

The Feb. 1-5 curriculum is titled "Black Lives Matter at School National Week of Action", but one parent in the district told Local 5 she is not pleased about some of the activities that will take place that week.

Dr. Anthony Jones, Director of Equity for the Ames Community School District, said this is the district's first time holding the week in all of their schools. 

Jones said a critical reason for the week is to empower Black students and also teach other students about Black experiences beyond slavery. 

"Black people are not just one group of people with one single issue, but black people are made up of many different individuals," Jones said. 

During the first week of February, to educate non-Black students about these many differences, teachers throughout the district will use the Black Lives Matter at School guiding principles. 

The principles consist of 13 topics:

  • Restorative Justice
  • Empathy
  • Loving Engagement
  • Diversity
  • Globalism
  • Queer Affirming
  • Trans Affirming
  • Collective Value
  • Intergenerational
  • Black Families
  • Black Villages
  • Unapologetically Black
  • Black Women

"As a school district, we want to create an environment where students have a sense of belonging and they feel included in every aspect of our schools," Jones said.

Eve Lederhouse found out about the action week and what will be taught to her daughter the first week of February, through a Jan. 22 post on the district's Facebook page. 

"Maybe It would've helped to at least [post] the information earlier," Lederhouse said.

The post received hundreds of comments with reactions like "Will the action include riots" or "How do we opt our kids out?"

Lederhouse says she is a woman of faith and a minority, but is not in full agreement with what Ames schools are doing.

"The teachings are crossing a line by offering a different standard regarding issues ranging from human sexuality to family values," Lederhouse said. "And that's contrary to what my husband and I, and millions of others think."

Jones noted the guiding principles will be taught through age-appropriate lessons and activities. 

He also said this week is not associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, but is another way to teach students about moving past tolerance and gaining understanding. 

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