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CPS Students Ask Black History Be Taught Outside Of Black History Month

Students say they want to hear about Black leaders beyond the more well-known historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., pictured here in Atlanta in 1960.

Students in Cincinnati Public Schools' "Speak Up and Speak Out" group on Thursday revealed plans to present a "list of demands" to the school board.

Students developed a list of five demands that include supporting students who want to become more civically engaged and building a stronger relationship with the Cincinnati Police Department. Students are also asking for more Black history to be included in the curriculum, not just in February.

Simone Simmons is a student at Walnut Hills. She said with Black history, students usually hear about the same topics every year, such as slavery and segregation.

"The way that we are portrayed in history class doesn't really display all of our greatness," Simmons said. "It doesn't show all of the great things that we've accomplished. It just shows all of the oppression we have faced all of these years, so I just want some of the positives of our race to be shown in class."

Rachel Scales is a senior at Riverview East. She said she wants to hear about more historical figures then the same ones discussed every year, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harriet Tubman.

"There are more people out here," Scales said. "I would love to hear more about local excellence."

The list of demands will be presented to the school board during its meeting on Monday. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

Here's the full list:

  1. We demand that every high school develop a dedicated peer group to discuss the issues faced by their Black students in their respective school.
  2. We demand the district create a platform for all voices to be heard through a student-led public rally.
  3. We demand that Black history is embedded in the curriculum throughout the school year, not just in February.
  4. We demand that CPS actively support students who want to become more civically engaged.
  5. We demand that CPS facilitate a stronger relationship and better understanding between students and the [Cincinnati] Police Department.

You can watch a livestream of the rally below.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.