Chaska High students protest over censoring of Black History Month posters

Some Chaska High School students are accusing school officials of trying to censor portions of Black history.

Inside the halls of Chaska High School Friday sophomore Faith Blackstone and her peers protested, chanting, “Black history uncensored!”

Blackstone told FOX 9 the protest was a response to how her school leaders determined which iconic African-Americans she could highlight on a series of Black History Month posters. 

Blackstone says about two weeks into February, she noticed the lack of representation for Black History Month in the school’s hallways.

“Why isn’t there anything that showcases black excellence?” Blackstone said she wondered.

She and her friends went to Chaska High School Principal Jim Bach with ideas about how the school could celebrate Black History Month.

“He gave us the poster board and said basically let me know what you think of, basically handed us all the work,” said Blackstone.

When Blackstone brought back her first poster, featuring activist Huey P. Newton and the Black Lives Matter movement, she says the principal told her the poster would be controversial. She says her plans for a poster, which featured Malcolm X, Emmett Till and Tamir Rice were also met with the same attitude by Bach and the school's equity representative. 

“Our history is American history,” said Blackstone’s mother, Tonya Coleman.

In disbelief, Coleman, also called the equity rep.

“And her response was well, ‘We need to meet the community where they are’ and I was so floored by that,” Coleman said shaking her head.

Meanwhile, Blackstone’s ideas for posters featuring Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, the Tuskegee Airmen, Coretta Scott King and the Obamas were approved.

“If you’re going to censor her information, or censor black history and some of the posters are okay and some aren’t, I don’t think she’d be interested in partaking in it at all,” Coleman recalled responding.

“Could we do better, absolutely we can always do better,” principal Bach told FOX 9 Monday adding in the future he hopes to incorporate black history education year-round.

“Our media center did stuff, I’ll be honest I - we’re trying to look at integrating it as more than just one month,” said Bach. “We want to integrate it in our curriculum throughout the whole year. So celebrating it in one month takes away from some of that.”

Blackstone instead is taking the posters to the Chaska Event Center Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. for a celebration called “Black History 365 Uncensored".