Florida school sends permission slips to learn Black National Anthem, not Holocaust: reports
An Ocala, Florida parent is outraged after an elementary school sent home a permission slip for students to learn the Black National Anthem, but not other topics like the Holocaust, according to reports.
Fox station WOFL in Orlando reported that the form went home with students from College Park Elementary in Ocala, Florida, which is part of the Marion County Public Schools.
Parents were asked to sign the form to give their third, fourth, and fifth grade children permission to learn the Black National Anthem, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’
A reporter from WOFL spoke with a parent, who went by Amanda, and whose child attends the school.
‘When I actually sat down to read it, I was very confused,’ she said. ‘I was like, ‘What is this?’’
According to the NAACP website, ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ was written by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900 as a poem that turned into a hymn.
The music was composed by Johnson’s brother, John Rasamond Johnson, and it was first performed in public in Jacksonville, Florida, to celebrate the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln.
The permission slip was sent to parents to give them the choice on whether to participate or not after the principal of the school felt the song may contain lyrics that some may find objectionable, the district told WOFL.
The line that raised concern was, ‘We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.’
Amanda questioned why permissions slips were not sent out when her third-grade daughter learned about the Holocaust.
‘I know they’re different, but it’s history,’ Amanda said. ‘I would assume they’d send a form for that too, but nothing at all.’
She said there was nothing in the song that she considered to be a red flag, nor did any of the lyrics make her feel uncomfortable.
District officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.
WOFL reported that the district said the song would be taught during school hours and that there was an optional performance of the song outside of normal school hours.