A Queens school teacher's decision to not allow student reports on Malcolm X for Black History Month has spurred outrage among parents and local leaders. NY1's Kristen Shaughnessy filed the following report.
Parents at P.S. 201 in Kew Gardens Hills were outraged when a technology teacher told fourth grade students they couldn't choose Malcolm X for a writing assignment about prominent black leader Malcolm X for Black History Month.
"My son came home and said, 'Guess what dad, the teacher said we can't write about Malcolm X because he was quote unquote bad,'" said Frank Brown, a parent.
Unlike Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X rejected non-violence and said black people should respond to racism by any means necessary to achieve their rights. He was assassinated in 1965.
Brown says his son has read this book about Malcolm X many times, and he and his wife just bought another copy for the teacher. Parents say the teacher acknowledged using the words "bad" and "violent" but said she felt information about Malcolm she found on a website was not age appropriate.
"My son came home with that negative stain on his brain that Malcolm X was a bad, violent man," said Angel Minor, a parent.
City Councilman Andy King of the Bronx, who co-chairs the Council's black, Latino and Asian caucus, says the teacher failed to consider all aspects of Malcolm X's life.
"He was a great leader, orator and spiritual leader not just for black Americans but people around the globe. So that is the conversation you have to lead 9-year-old brains to," King said.
On Monday morning parents and legislative leaders met with the principal and teacher at P.S. 201 and were happy to hear an assembly will be held for all fourth graders, where the teacher is expected to apologize.
"This is day one of healing and as we move forward we will get back to this matter and see where we are from here," Brown said.
"As the technology teacher she should have did better research and with that research chose a better selection of words," Minor said.
As for those papers on prominent black leaders, the parents say their boys will be writing about Malcolm X not only to further educate themselves, but also their teacher.