PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A group of students, teachers and parents gathered outside of the Phoenix Union High School District to demand more ethnic classes in the curriculum.

"Test studies have shown it's a vital part of their education," said MEChA advisor Theresa Arvizu.

The group made their way into the district's governing board meeting and took turns to share their hopes for ethnic courses to be required for all students. 

"In October, we were here representing our roots and our history, and we would like to keep it," said one protester. 

In the fall, the MEChA organization as well as other students, expressed the need for a more diverse curriculum, and the school district said they delivered. 

"We are going to have a Social, Cultural and Ethnic Exploration class piloted next year," explained Craig Pletenik, a spokesperson for the Phoenix Union High School District. 

The class is still being constructed and will be tested out in three different high schools during the 2019-2020 school year. 

The course will not only cover a variety of cultures, but also religion and sexuality. 

"Diversity is kind of the cornerstone of Phoenix Union; over 70 languages spoken, our student's birthplaces number 112 countries, so we really want to cover the broad spectrum and be inclusive of all of our students," Pletenik said. 

The protesters say they want to keep the conversation going with the school district.

"We want to support that and we also want to say that we want to be apart of that development process -- and not just as a participant -- but we want to be leading that," Arvizu said. 

The three high schools that will get the pilot program have not been selected yet.

 


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