Black History Month Burnout


Grace Luebke, Reporter

School administrators are walking a fine line this February when it comes to the teachings of Black History. 

During Black History Month, teachers often find ways to weave the history of Black Americans into their set curriculum through lectures, discussions, and activities. However, this year there has been a sense of silence when it comes to Black History Month. At Briar, there has only been one-morning announcement talking about an influential Black man, Nelson Mandela, who’s not even American, and a mural made in the main hallway that has since been taken down. 

For Briar students, this is a far cry from their middle school years, when Black History Month was truly a time of honoring and celebrating Black culture, achievements, icons, and trailblazers. Sophomores Sneha Nandakumar and McKenna Appelt said they remember a multitude of projects about Black heroes in America, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. The recent lack of acknowledgment for Black history representation in schools has been deemed a common issue in schools throughout the country, and students are speaking out.

In Spring Valley, California, students at Monte Vista High School staged a morning walkout. The students paraded around the parking lot and the outskirts of the school, holding signs that said, “Acknowledge our past; you’re forgetting too fast.” Local news picked up this story, and there was no shortage of comments undermining the students’ message. Hurtful comments such as “I can promise you a lot of these kids have F’s and D’s on their report cards!” and “How about them working on their shockingly low reading and math proficiency scores!” plagued the video. 

Loudoun County’s new policies make it difficult for students and teachers to speak up about these topics as they would be held to high scrutiny. Governor Glenn Youngkin banned the teachings of CRT (Critical Race Theory) his first month in office. With this enforcement, teachers have been walking on eggshells trying to find ways that teach the history of our country without it being misconstrued for CRT. Every day social studies teachers risk losing their jobs, and others are considering leaving the profession altogether. Today’s climate makes this year’s Black History Month difficult to navigate. Sophomore Thomas Melissinos believes that “Black History Month has become political, and [he] doesn’t think it should be.”

So what can teachers do in upcoming years to preserve Black History Month in schools? Create brief research projects on Black heroes, insert a fun fact in the daily agenda slides, read short stories, or listen to Black artists during class. Let’s block the burnout of Black History Month.