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Queens students not allowed to write about Malcolm X for Black History Month

Malcolm X
Wikimedia Commons

Students across the country are marking Black History Month for certain assignments throughout February, and parents at one elementary school in New York are none too pleased that one historical figure is off-limits.

According to CBS New York on Monday, fourth-grade students at Public School 201 in Queens are not being allowed to write about activist Malcolm X for their Black History Month reports. He was originally among the list acceptable topics with the likes of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, but a technology teacher reportedly withdrew his name due to his criminal record and being "deemed violent."

“My son came home one day and said, ‘We can write about a civil rights leader, but we can’t write about Malcolm X because he was bad,’" one parent was quoted as saying.

Parents, along with members of the Queens City Council Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, requested a meeting with Principal Rebecca Lozada and the teacher in question to discuss the matter.

“It was a mistake to let kids leave school thinking that it was inappropriate to do a report on Malcolm X,” Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) said. “He’s an important figure, not only for the black community, but also in American history.”

Malcolm X was born in 1925 and was a member and minister of the Nation of Islam for over 10 years. As for the violence aspect, he was known to clash with civil rights leaders on the issue of nonviolence, claiming that violence should not be ruled out for self-defense. He was assassinated in 1965 at the age of 39.

CBS notes that the local Department of Education is looking into the issue.

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