In a video clip a parent shared on Facebook last month, a teacher at the center showed various yoga positions while reciting in soothing, melodic tones her interpretation of how the transatlantic slave trade worked. “African people came to America on boats to become slaves,” the teacher said in the video, which was initially discovered by the Delaware News Journal. “So here’s the great big country of Africa. They crossed the Atlantic to come over to America. So right now, I need you to get into your boat pose,” she says, demonstrating the yoga pose.
“Came? We were stolen,” the parent recording the clip can be heard saying.
The Caesar Rodney School District, the authority holding the childhood center accountable, is investigating the video after parents were expectedly outraged. At one point in the unnamed teacher’s video, she actually described slavery as farming. “Africans were treated very poorly, even though they farmed the land and plowed the fields to make America beautiful and help grow our food,” she said. “They worked in the fields all day. If you’re at home, you can try the plow pose.” Parent responses ranged from shock to outrage. “It’s 2021, you’d think this stuff would have ended a long time ago,” Caesar Rodney parent Jessie Welch said in the Delaware News Journal. “But it hasn’t because of ignorance. And this is an educator who’s supposed to be teaching our kids.”
Another educator, the one in Florida, had the audacity to threaten to remove a Black child tickled by the teacher’s brazen suggestion that slaves weren’t whipped. “How do you know? Were you there?” the student asked in a video he later posted on TikTok with several other clips from the Advanced Placement class.
”Let me help you out … before I kick you out,” the teacher responded in the video. “Let’s have an honest conversation,” he later added. “Not all of this ‘ha-ha hee-hee ho,’ let’s have an honest conversation about it—that’s what I want.” In another video, the teacher, who hasn’t been publicly identified, claimed that the N-word “just means ignorant” and has no other definition. He was punished with a paid vacation otherwise known as suspension with pay, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.
Yet and still another teacher, this one in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, was similarly allowed paid administrative leave for calling a Black student’s “Black King” T-shirt racist, KFOR-TV reported. Susan Parks-Schlepp, a spokeswoman for the district, released this statement defending the teacher to KFOR:
“Edmond Public Schools district administrators met this afternoon, Thursday, Feb. 25, with a Heartland Middle School teacher at the center of a complaint. The district recognizes the public’s desire for a quick resolution to this issue. However, it’s important to note that employees have fundamental rights to ensure fairness when they are the subject of a complaint. Those rights include an option for the teacher to respond to and contest any recommended disciplinary action. As such, the district cannot, at this time, divulge any further details about the outcome of today’s meeting.”
For a refreshing change of pace next February, how about districts and school officials work half as hard to defend and protect Black students as they do to cover for the educators who blatantly disrespect them?