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Education Reporter

St. Louis Student Takes Objections to College History Course to Board 
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The September 2003 Education Reporter reported on a St. Louis, MO family's deep disappointment in the content of an introductory American history course offered at Meramec Community College. On November 20, the student, Kimberly Level, addressed the college board of trustees about her concerns. Her remarks follow:

My name is Kimberly Level and I was previously enrolled in the American History I [course taught] by Dr. K.J. Blalock. When I was first enrolled I was excited about going to college, but became quite shocked, offended and insulted by some of the major components of the reading material Dr. Blalock has selected for this course.

Four books were selected for this course. One is highly questionable for a course entitled "American History I". The book that is most offensive to me is The Devil's Dominion written by Richard Godbeer. Out of all of early American history, is the material this book covers — witchcraft, sorcery, astrology — and what the instructor intends to spend a great amount of classroom discussion on, the most beneficial use of time — a subject that, given the extensive class time and reading, is insulting to my personal convictions and beliefs?

Another questionable book that has been selected is a novel entitled The Killer Angels written by Michael Shaara. There are not any textbooks being used, which I was unaware of when selecting this course.

Are the Puritans going to be portrayed as negative influences that harmed our country? I hope not, because I feel that I would have much in common with the Puritans. The actions of a few should not discredit the good accomplishments by the many other Puritans in the colonies and their contributions to society.

I believe that the subject of witchcraft in the colonies is a small slice of history that is being given undue class time. In my discussion with Dr. Blalock, she stated she felt that in our American patriotism, Americans have justified our unjust actions, and she feels it is her responsibility to portray our negative history. Neither side is an accurate portrayal of history. The true, unbiased facts are what are most important in history.

Dr. Blalock suggested that I should maybe consider attending a Christian college. Meramec Community College should be acceptable for all in the community. I find the fact that my opinions and beliefs would not be welcome, given equal time and value, highly unacceptable. Would it be discriminatory to say to an African-American to go to another college because the subjects in our courses would be offensive? History ought to be presented in a non-offensive way acceptable to all. Just as subjects slanderous to an African-American or Indian are prohibited, so should subjects that inaccurately portray my religion.

It is my desire to attend a college where in an American history course my beliefs are welcomed and valued, and where proper emphasis is placed on the subjects of our history. If this is not possible with the current instructor, I ask that you employ faculty satisfactory to meet the needs of the community.

I did plan to attend many of my general courses at Meramec, but I now feel that it would not be the most beneficial college to attend because of the discriminatory position your college, not the community, has [taken] against my religion.

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