By Shrida Pandey, Online News Editor
// During the 2020 protests for George Floyd, people nationwide recognized the inequalities that people of color face in American society. In the Lamorinda community, many students and parents turn to the school system to demand education on racial history and equity.
The Acalanes Union High School District Governing Board met this Wednesday and unanimously voted to finalize the approval of two new classes: Introduction to Ethnic Studies and English 4: Deconstructing Race.
The district approved both course proposals last winter for the 2020-2021 school year. During the Sept. 2 meeting, the Board finalized this decision, along with the curriculum for the courses.
“Introduction to Ethnic Studies and English 4: Deconstructing Race are both classes that have come up out of the voice from our students calling for classes like this and our diversity committee,” Associate Superintendent Aida Glimme said in the Sept. 2 meeting.
Introduction to Ethnic Studies, a semester-long class, will focus on the experiences of minority groups in the United States.
“Classes like Introduction to Ethnic Studies provide representation for our minorities on campus and also sheds light on cultures that are not widely known. It gives a much needed perspective of other cultures and experiences that world history and other classes do not,” senior Kylie Alfaro said.
Likewise, the year-long English 4: Deconstructing Race course will teach students about racism while also fulfilling the English 4 graduation requirement. Students will read books like Between the World and Me, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, along with other works of literature.
“I think these are good opportunities to learn more racial studies. It is also a good way to start spreading awareness and educating students on these topics, especially with literature,” junior Sylvia Deng said.
Acalanes currently offers one section of Introduction to Ethnic Studies but did not offer the English 4: Deconstructing Race class this year because not enough students signed up.
“When I realized the English 4: Deconstructing Race class had been dropped, I was incredibly frustrated. Race is hard. I’m not surprised the class didn’t get a ton of sign ups but I’m disappointed that it got dropped altogether,” senior Madison Payne said.
Payne believes that the classes should be mandatory for all students.
“English should already include race relations anyway; race isn’t an elective Acalanes can just throw away because no one wants to talk about it,” Payne said.
Although Acalanes only offers one of the courses this year, many students remain interested in learning about racism.
“I think Acalanes definitely needs to be more educated and aware about racial issues. As the years go by, hopefully more people will want to take classes like these and they will be mandatory,” junior Caroline Crossland said.