Lets discuss the history debate


Beck Iannucci

Disclaimer: this is just my opinion as a student of this school. That doesn’t mean that Rye Schools agree with me.

Schools and parents are often revising and arguing about how history is taught in schools. Two weeks ago, I heard that a petition was being spread on Facebook about our school.

I personally find this topic interesting. The main thing that worries me is the glorification of wicked figures. I believe that history repeats itself when we chalk up events and people to be better than they were and don’t express the destruction or chaos that ensued. Yet, many parents seem to have a different concern than mine. I’m not saying their concerns aren’t valid; I’m saying it interests me to see this from another perspective.

I know that New Jersey schools just fought, and won, to have lgbtq+ history taught in their classes. This strikes me as something long overdue, but many weren’t too keen on not having only straight cis people being represented.

Schools around the area are making their own changes, so let’s look at what has been proposed for ours.

Parents were talking about changing how we talk about slavery. The backlash comes from parents believing that students are taught that everyone’s ancestors had slaves. This doesn’t make sense to me because I figure that it’s common sense. By teaching that many had slaves — which is true — I don’t think it insinuates anything else. There are always people that are exceptions to anything. Is this not common sense? And I, personally, was never taught that every single person owned a slave so I’m confused about what the issue is.

The fight about Black History Month studies in school is also bizarre to me. Opting people out of history shouldn’t ever be an option. We need to learn about history — which is something that we should be doing all the time regardless of race. You shouldn’t just teach about important black figures in history just in February. That’s what makes me confused about the people opting their kids out or schools making it a choice. It’s just more info about things we should already be in the process of learning. What’s the harm?

But we don’t just have a problem going on with schools not teaching black or lgbtq+ history. There aren’t many schools teaching about disabled figures. Honestly, I didn’t learn about the history of disabled rights from a history teacher — I learned from a friend that is passionate about the topic. She taught me, as well as many others, through a club she runs at school. It’s very disappointing that she had to take the initiative. I think our school should have been teaching about the history of disabled rights in America from the beginning. To me, this just shows that we have more to do. Of course that doesn’t just apply to our school. Lots have more to improve on when it comes to history. I think we should be teaching lgbtq+ history just like New Jersey. But I’m hopeful that this change will be made in the future.

 This might be a topic that is always up for debate. But as humans we’re constantly changing our language. We change the words we use and how we speak about things. So this might not be a stalemate. There is always a way to revise something and there are always changes to be made.