(Truthdig) -- “Don’t make history a mystery” read one of the signs at a rally in Jefferson County, Colo. High-school students in this suburban district, referred to locally as “JeffCo,” have been walking out of class en masse this past week, protesting the planned censorship of the district’s Advanced Placement (AP) United States history curriculum by the local school board. The board proposed a committee that would review the course, and others, adding material to “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights,” as well as eliminating anything the board thought could “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.” The student walkout coincided with several days of “sick-outs” by teachers. Ironically, the school board’s attempts to stifle teaching about the history of protest in the United States has provoked a growing protest movement.
School boards have long been an electoral target of the right wing in the U.S. In JeffCo, the current conservative majority won a narrow victory in November 2013, an off-year election with low voter turnout. “About 33 percent of the total population that could vote voted. Elections matter, and especially school-board elections,” John Ford said on the “Democracy Now!” news hour. He’s a social-studies teacher at Moore Middle School and the president of the Jefferson County Education Association, representing more than 5,000 teachers, librarians, counselors and other employees of the district.