DENVER — As a new wave of young protesters in suburban Denver rallied against an education proposal to promote patriotism and downplay civil disobedience, the district’s school board president said Thursday that students were being misinformed and used as “pawns.”

Ken Witt, head of the Jefferson County Board of Education, said teachers are upset over a compensation plan and are supporting the demonstrations as pretext for union demands.

“It’s never OK to use kids as pawns,” Witt said, adding that some students wrongly believe issues such as slavery will be eliminated under the disputed plan.

Students across at least six high schools in the state’s second-largest school district have walked out of classes in droves each day this week. Their demonstrations picked up after dozens of teachers upset over the history proposal and other issues, including a merit-based compensation package they consider unfair, called in sick Friday in a protest that shut down two schools.

Hundreds of students gathered Thursday, holding signs with messages that included “teach us the truth.”

The Jefferson County school board plan laid out a week ago during a meeting that also included a vote to link teacher pay raises to evaluation results would establish a committee to review texts and coursework. Starting with Advanced Placement history, the panel would make sure materials “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights” and don’t “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

The plan was drafted in response to a new set of history standards adopted by the College Board, which gives more attention to minorities, Native Americans and pre-Columbus early American history.

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