NAACP hosts second meeting after Hillcrest Black history incident
The Tuscaloosa chapter of the NAACP met with students, parents and staff at Hillcrest High School Monday morning, seeking answers after students said they’d been told by administrators that their student-run Black History Month program couldn’t reference anything that happened before the 1970s.
WVUA 23 first learned of the debate last week; on Saturday, local civil rights leaders hosted a meeting at Greater Faith Church in Moundville so students could have their voices heard.
Hillcrest High School and the Tuscaloosa County School System deny placing any limits on the Black History Month/Unity program.
Tuscaloosa NAACP President Lisa Young said Hillcrest Principal Jeff Hinton confirmed on Monday that students will have creative control over the program.
“The meetings initially sprung from some students who had alleged they were told that during the Black History Program that they could not discuss the civil rights movement or mention slavery,” Young said. “Administration immediately said that is not true. However we do have students who say they were told that.”
WVUA 23 reached out to the Tuscaloosa County School System regarding what happened and got the following statement:
”We are thankful for a community who cares about our students. Anytime someone in our community has concerns about the well-being of our students, we appreciate them coming directly to our administrators to discuss their concerns.”
Young said she feels students and their parents left these recent meetings feeling understood and inspired.
“We assured those students that they will always have a safe place to express themselves and their concerns, and as a community we will back them,” Young said. “But what we want to do is make sure they have the tools to advocate on their own while being respectful. Then, after they’ve tried to advocate for themselves and they are unable to reach administration, then we as a community will advocate on their behalf.”
Young said the NAACP is still working with the school to better understand what happened.
The students’ Black History Month/Unity program is scheduled for Feb. 22 at 9 a.m.