Utah Jazz Players To Teach Black History After Montessori School Controversy

Feb 10, 2021, 12:39 PM
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz wears Say Her Name on the back of his jersey. (Photo by Mike Ehrm...
Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz wears Say Her Name on the back of his jersey. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After the Maria Montessori Academy in North Ogden announced that parents of its students could opt out of Black History Month instruction, members of the Utah Jazz voiced their displeasure over the controversy.

All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, who has been a prominent equal rights activist throughout his career tweeted his frustration over the school’s decision.

“I don’t know where to start…. racism is taught…” Mitchell said. “And the fact that kids are being told by their own parents to not learn about black history and black excellence is sickening and sad!! And this is just part of the problem….. smh.”

Mitchell was joined by fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert who shared a similar sentiment about the perceived hypocrisy in the students’ education.

“Meanwhile kids can’t be opted out of the many lies that they are being “taught” the rest of the year!,” Gobert tweeted. “#history #his-story”

Even Jazz owner Ryan Smith took to social media to denounce the school’s decisions.

“There’s no room for something like this. Ever.” Smith tweeted. “It got fixed, but it should never happen in the first place.”

The Montessori Academy reversed course on its decision and issued a statement on its website about the debacle, but not before the outgrew coverage in Utah.

“The Maria Montessori Academy Board of Directors and the School Director have one primary goal – providing a quality and equitable education to all of our students,” the statement read. ” Celebrating Black History Month is part of our tradition.  We regret that after receiving requests, an opt-out form was sent out concerning activities planned during this month of celebration.”

Despite the school’s reversal, the Jazz are taking it upon themselves to help educate students across the state about Black history.

Jazz Players Create Videos To Teach Black History

Jazz players, coaches. and ownership are joining together to release videos dedicated to discussing Black history and Black heroes for K-12 students.

“The team will explore people or events in Black history that have inspired them,” the team announced. “These “Black History Heroes” discussions will go live at 10 a.m. MT on the respective days and will be available on demand for use as part of school curriculums.”

The team will also be conducting an essay contest for 9th through 12th graders with the theme of Investing in the Future. Student essays are based on the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

A judging committee will select three finalists, one of which will be the overall winner. All three finalists will receive a $500 gift card and a Jazz fan pack. In addition, the overall winner will receive a virtual appearance with a Jazz player to their class.

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Utah Jazz Players To Teach Black History After Montessori School Controversy