Ohio school offers extra credit for 'February Awareness Month' during black history event

This was an extra credit questionnaire given to Mason High School students who attended a Black History Month event. The problem? The teacher called it February Awareness Month. (Photo: Provided/Cincinnati Enquirer)
This was an extra credit questionnaire given to Mason High School students who attended a Black History Month event. The problem? The teacher called it February Awareness Month. (Photo: Provided/Cincinnati Enquirer)

MASON, OH (FOX19) - Recently, Mason City Schools has been plagued with several racial incidents.

This month, the district has decided to hold a series of black history events, but even that has raised a few eyebrows when a teacher referred to it as "February Awareness Month."

The school has since changed the wording and called Tuesday night's event a "Black History Month" presentation.

There were a lot of people in attendance, but there were also quite a few absences that had some parents leaving disappointed.

Students of all shades and different backgrounds sat side-by-side as Cincinnati Council Member Tamaya Dennard spoke about racism and how to respect others.

"How do we drive connection... because that what's going to save us," she said.

Dennard is one of several speakers who has come to the high school this month as part of the series.

But the first black history event didn't come without controversy after a teacher had students who attended fill out an extra credit form that read "February Awareness Month."

"I was kind of taken aback by that," teacher Brian Thomas said.

Thomas is a science teacher at the high school. He attended the talk Tuesday night with his son who also is a student at the high school.

"He came for the extra credit. I'm not going to say he's here because he wants to to live and grow, but you have to plant seeds and he's hearing things that I'm not sure he's heard before," he said.

Thomas said this message comes at an important time. A few weeks ago a student apparently posted an offensive video containing several racial slurs to social media.

This is just the latest in a series of racial incidents the district has faced in the past couple of months, including racist SnapChat messages posted by students, a teacher telling a black student they would be lynched, and another teaching calling a black student to the front of a classroom to touch her hair.

FOX19 NOW did reach out to the school about the superintendent's attendance, but have not heard back.

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