October 23, 2013 | 1 comment | 898 views
Malverne High School to replace Black Studies Club
Almost two months after the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s celebrated speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Malverne High School students and alumni are speaking out against a pending replacement of the school’s Black Studies Club with a broader-based club that will include other cultural groups, saying they fear losing focus on civil rights history with such a move.
At the district’s Oct. 8 Board of Education meeting, Bea Bailey, president of the Lakeview chapter of the NAACP, asked the board to verify rumors that the school would replace its Carter G. Woodson Black Studies Club with an organization that will include more diversity groups, including the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender, or LGBT, community.
“We’ve lost 70 percent of our African-American teachers since the 1970s in a population that has a majority of African-American students,” Bailey later told the Herald. “We feel that [African-American history] was not being taught in the classrooms, and this was another outlet for them to learn about their culture.”
Malverne High School Principal Dr. Vincent Romano confirmed what was described as the “expansion” of the Black Studies Club — integrating organizations such as the school’s Foreign Language Club, but not the Gay-Straight Alliance, since it was not included in the proposal — noting that 37 of its members opted to absorb other clubs when the school faced major budget cuts that endangered extracurricular activities.
“Unfortunately, with the budgets being tight, we can’t have five or six different clubs,” Romano said at the meeting. “One of the most important things that we did in expanding the club was to maintain the integrity of what the Black Studies Club did and that’s a big help.”
While the process of replacing the club is in its early stages — administrators have yet to propose a plan to the board or a name for the new club, and are currently advertizing for a faculty advisor — Romano said that its members will be responsible for organizing club activities throughout the year and taking the initiative in promoting their goals.