Florida teacher resigns after posters of black leaders seized by school district employee | New
A Florida teacher said he quit his new job at OJ Semmes Elementary School in Pensacola on Tuesday (August 9) after a school district employee allegedly removed photos of black leaders from his bulletin board.
Michael James61, told the Pensacola Diary that the images included depictions of Martin Luther King Jr.., Harriet Tubman, Colin Powell and george washington carver. James, who is white, chose these images to inspire and motivate his students who are predominantly black.
He said the school district employee, whom he identified as a behavior analyst, told him the photos were “age-inappropriate” for his K-5 students. James called her actions racist although he does not recall her mentioning race as the reason she grabbed the photos, including one of the former president barack obama which was near his office.
On Monday (August 8), James emailed Govt. Ron DeSantis and Superintendent of Escambia County Tim Smith to inform them of the incident that occurred earlier in the day.
Smith told the newspaper that a full investigation was underway and he was unaware of any policy prohibiting teachers from posting inspirational American heroes on their walls.
“Our office was notified of this employee’s resignation and the reasons for his resignation very early this morning, Tuesday, August 9, 2022,” the school district’s statement read. “Around the same time, we received a copy of an email written by this individual and disclosed to the governor’s office and various media outlets before we had a chance to investigate. We are now in the process of conduct a full investigation. If these allegations are found to be factual, we will certainly take corrective action, as our goal is for all of our teachers to feel valued and supported.”
Some have accused DeSantis of creating an environment that encouraged the incident. A new state law that the governor promoted and dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act” went into effect July 1, CBS News reported. The law sets limits on how race issues can be taught in schools and allows parents to sue teachers and school districts who violate it.
DeSantis also spoke out against the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a college-level academic framework for analyzing systemic racism that is not taught in elementary and high schools. The policy, which other Republican-led states have also adopted, is widely seen as a disinformation campaign by the GOP to stir up its political base for the 2022 midterm elections.
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“It’s the sad reality of Ron DeSantis’ Florida – a teacher, in a predominantly black community, walks into his classroom to see posters of historically black American heroes, including President Obama, removed for being ‘inappropriate'” , charlie christa Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said in a campaign statement.
“DeSantis’ culture wars are seeping into every corner of our state, and it’s Florida students who are paying the price.”