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A parent with an elementary school student at Johnston schools reached out to The Iowa Standard with concerns about a “virtual field trip” scheduled for today.

The students will be watching a play called “A Kids Play About Racism.” It is based on Jelani Memory’s book “A Kids Book About Racism.”

Teachers and students are encouraged to watch the book on video before watching the play.

And the book starts right away…

“Because of my skin color people aren’t always nice to me. Sometimes I get called names. Other times, it’s worse.”

It continues…

“You see, some people believe that having different color skin means you aren’t as good as others.”

At another point, it says that “(racism) happens all the time.”

The parent said in the past a permission slip has been required for field trips or plays or even movies.

“Every time either of my children has watched a movie (The Nutcracker for example), play or went on a field trip they have been required to get permission. Not so in this case.”

The parent is concerned about the author of the book.

“The author is very pro-Black Lives Matter and subscribes to the false narrative that the police are systemically taking out black people, etc,” the parent said.

The play begins with a land acknowledgment.

Here is the beginning of the play:

At another point in the play, Jelani says sometimes he gets called good names for being biracial and sometimes he gets called bad names — like “ethnically ambiguous.”

He raps to a song called “black is not a color, it’s a culture.”

Then it gets weird, considering the audience is third graders.

Here is a link to the full play.

For what it is worth, the parent did reach out to the school principal asking why there was no permission slip for the upcoming play.

Suzie Pearson, the principal, told the parent that typically permission slips are sent home for field trips that take place off school property. The school did inform parents ahead of time so there would be advanced knowledge of the activity.

Pearson said if the parent did not want their child to participate, there would be an alternative activity the child could do during the play.

The parent informed Pearson that they had to sign a permission slip in the past for watching The Nutcracker.

“The author of this book has very extreme views on the police that I fear will further inflame the anti-police rhetoric and it is certainly unfortunate that the district thinks this type of activity is appropriate for any age group, let alone third-graders,” the parent said. “We need to get to the fact that everyone is equal, color doesn’t matter and the police are not targeting certain races.”

If children didn’t see skin color before watching this video, it’s probably all they’ll see afterward for quite some time.

Keep in mind, folks, this is why local elections matter — specifically, school board elections.

Author: Jacob Hall