Colorado student protests spread to a middle school

DENVER (Reuters) - Protests against a proposed curriculum change that saw hundreds of high school students walk out of class in a Colorado district spread to a middle school on Tuesday. Several dozen students staged a demonstration outside the Carmody Middle School in the Jefferson County School District and chanted slogans including "Don't censor history," local TV news footage showed. Last week hundreds of students walked out of nearly all the district's 17 high schools to protest the curriculum change proposal, which is being floated by a school board with a conservative majority. On Monday, teachers calling in absent forced two high schools to cancel classes. No disturbances were reported at the district's high schools on Tuesday. While the teachers' union is upset with a new merit-based pay compensation package, last week's walkouts by student were triggered by the proposal from the five-member board to change elements of the district's advanced placement history classes. The proposed changes would discourage civil disobedience and promote the benefits of the free enterprise system, as well as "positive aspects of the United States and its heritage," board member Julie Williams said last week. Amid the furor created by the protests, the contentious language was edited out of the proposal, which was then tabled without a vote. The school board is due to consider the curriculum review issue again a meeting on Thursday night. School board president Ken Witt said last week that nothing has been decided about the history curriculum, and he accused the teachers' union of "manipulating" students to protest. Jefferson County is Colorado's second-largest school district with 84,000 students. (Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Jim Loney)