For one Missouri school district, Black history and literature classes could be going away soon. This is because the local school board has voted to eliminate the classes that have been offered over the last few years. This move, approved by a new conservative majority, is the latest effort in the mostly white St. Louis-area suburb to roll back reforms and changes made after the killing of George Floyd in 2020.

On Thursday, the all-white Francis Howell School Board voted 5-2 to remove two courses from the schools under its control. The vote eliminates a Black History course that, according to a course description, “tells the history of Blacks from the beginning Ancient Civilizations of Africa through the present day accomplishments and achievements of Black individuals today.” The vote also eliminates a Black Literature class that explores “contemporary and multi-genre literary works of Black authors and will celebrate the dignity and identity of Black voices.” The school district is one of Missouri’s largest, with over 16,000 students, and it is overwhelmingly white, with less than 8% of its students identifying as Black.

Nevertheless, the elective courses, offered since 2021, had a combined enrollment of just over 100 students this semester and vocal support within the community. Protesters demonstrated and chanted outside the school board meeting in hopes of saving the two classes. Nevertheless, five new members of the school board, elected over the past two years with backing from the conservative Francis Howell Families political action committee, had targeted the courses. They claim that the classes teach critical race theory, a university-level academic lens that conservatives have, often falsely, accused of being taught in high school curricula. The conservatives who voted against the courses also objected to their inclusion of “Social Justice Standards” created by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The elimination of the Black history and Black literature courses is the latest example of the Francis Howell School Board rolling back efforts to address race and racism. In July, the school board voted to revoke an anti-racism resolution that had been adopted in August 2020 after protests over the killing of George Floyd and other incidents of racial violence. That resolution, which pledged that the district would “promote racial healing, especially for our Black and brown students and families,” came under fire from the same five conservative school board members, all of whom had been elected after its adoption.

The efforts of the conservative Francis Howell School Board majority reflect Republican efforts around the country to roll back anti-riacist and diversity-focused initiatives from public life. For example, the Republican-led government of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected an AP African American History course and later adopted education standards that argued that Black people benefited in some ways from slavery. These are just some examples of efforts across a number of Republican-controlled states and localities to repeal programs aimed at racial equality and to downplay the need for such policies.

It remains to be seen if the Francis Howell School Board will take other efforts to scale back policies related to race. But despite backlash, conservative political actors like those in Missouri seem determined to push their agenda through public schools and other institutions.