Racism in America is an insidious, omnipresent beast that lives in every level of our society. But some of its most pernicious manifestations are in the school system, giving us a terrifying glimpse into how casually these evil ideas and sentiments are normalized and instilled into the next generation.
A white teacher in Texas (somehow, it’s always Texas) has been suspended and faces disciplinary action for sending a photograph of her foot on the neck of a ten-year-old Black student to his mother in a direct reference to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of murder earlier this week.
Allegedly, the teacher told the boy she’d put her foot on his neck if he didn’t stop misbehaving, at which point he laid on the ground and dared her to do it. The teacher claims that she knows the mother and the child says he believes it was a “joke,” as she didn’t put any pressure on his neck, it is impossible to understand how this could possibly be construed as “funny.”
Statement released from Greenville ISD. Teacher with her foot on a students neck.
“This stuff right here is unacceptable. Under no circumstances should this have happened. This is my nephew and his teacher and she thought it would be funny to do some sh*t like this.” wrote the boy’s aunt, Lakadren Jackson, on Facebook. The family is currently seeking to have the teacher fired.
Greenville Schools’ superintendent Demetrus Liggins did not find it very funny either. “That is not who we are. That picture does not define our teachers, it does not define the way we treat our students and what the expectation is throughout our district… After a year of lots of trials and challenges due to the pandemic, to have this occur on the day that it occurred, the optics again were just not good at all regardless of the intentions,” he said in a statement to WFAA.
The teacher has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation unfolds.
Upon learning about this, we immediately contacted the family to check on the student to ensure his well-being. We will continue to be in touch with the family to be sure the student feels comfortable and safe on campus,” said the school district.
It is mind-boggling to try to comprehend how an educator could possibly think that this was in any way appropriate. Teaching Black children that having feet placed on their necks by white people is a funny joke is as perverse as you can get; reinforcing and normalizing white-on-black violence is the last thing our school teachers need to be doing, especially when we’ve just been given a horrifying lesson in how dangerous that can be.