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Students at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa County are banding together to protest their school’s controversial Black History Month program.

On Feb. 8, students flooded the streets outside of the school’s campus after the administration refused to allow a student-run Black History program to teach historical moments that occurred before the 1970s, according to CBS 42. Slavery, the civil rights movement and the Black Panthers were topics that could not be included in the curriculum.

Hundreds of Hillcrest High Schoolers protested outside of the school’s campus, demanding for the aforementioned topics be covered in the course.

“I feel like it’s important to talk about that because I feel like in 2023, a lot of our youth don’t know their culture,” a student Jamiyah Brown told the news outlet. “A lot of our youth don’t know how empowerment has brought us this far. This is important to educate our youth on how we came from somewhere to now.”
on Wednesday morning, students walked out the front door of the school around 9:30 a.m. The crowd of more than 200 students eventually made their way to the street, shouting for their concerns to be heard.
The demonstration was peaceful, but according to WBCR, the crowd grew large enough that a deputy sheriff had to block part of the road in front of the school to keep students safe. The protest ended after 40 minutes with students returning to their classrooms to carry out the rest of the school day.

Students want to meet with officials to give recommendations on the school’s curriculum

In order to bring diversity and representation to the school’s course structure, students say they want to meet with the county school superintendent to discuss changes to the curriculum.
They would like to see more educational content that is reflective of the student body. 55 percent of the school’s population is Black, reports note.
There could be another rally in the future if the administration fails to meet with students.
Lisa Young, president of the Tuscaloosa branch of the NAACP, said she and others were contacted earlier this year with complaints about the school’s lackluster and outdated curriculum.

“We had a forum last Saturday and discovered there is a culture here that’s not conducive to educating. It was more intimidation,” she said.

Tuscaloosa County Schools Superintendent Keri C. Johnson released a statement about the walkout that read:

“The Tuscaloosa County School System supports our students’ right to peacefully demonstrate. A number of our Hillcrest High students have concerns about the culture within their school. We care deeply about our students, and it is important that their concerns are heard. We are putting together a plan to make sure our students feel heard, so that we know the right steps to put in place to ensure all students know that they are valued.”


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