REPORT: School Investigates Art Teacher Who Taught Fifth Graders How Police ‘Don’t Like Black Men’

(Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images for Kinder Ready )

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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A public school in Tennessee launched an investigation into an art teacher after parents say the teacher reportedly taught fourth and fifth-grade students a lesson on racism that claimed police officers “don’t like Black men,” WVLT reported Thursday.

One parent told WVLT that her fifth-grade son’s art teacher at Sterchi Elementary School in Knoxville reportedly assigned the students a book called “Something Happened in Our Town,” which is a book about a police shooting of a black man. 

The book “aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events in order to help them “identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives,” a description on the American Psychological Association’s website said. 

However, the parent believed the book was completely inappropriate for young children after her son reported that during a Monday lesson he watched the book narrated to the class on video. The parent objected to a line in the book that said “Cops stick up for each other. They don’t like Black men,” especially because the child’s uncle is a police officer, according to WVLT.

“She just kept saying that, you know, uncle so-and-so is one of the nicest people she knows,” the parent told the outlet. “And so we had to reiterate to her that yes, you know, there are a lot of nice cops out there … a lot of nice, everybody out there, and there’s bad everybody out there.”

“[T]o be teaching 10 and 11-year-old children were just really a huge red flag for us as parents,” the parent added. “We felt like things were, you know, stereotypes and generalizations about people. And just all over, you know, all around blanket statements,” the parent told WVLT.

The schools’ administration reportedly said the materials from the lesson were not approved by the school. 

“We are aware of the situation,” Knox County Public Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas told WVLT. “This book is not approved for use in our curriculum and I have asked our Human Resources Department to investigate the matter.”

The school’s principal also reportedly discussed the situation with the parent over the phone and the principal apologized for the lesson, the parent told WVLT.

The supervisor of the elementary school also reportedly suggested teachers would be retrained on how to teach sensitive materials. 

The parent isn’t calling for the art teacher to be terminated but said she would like to see teachers stick to the subjects they were hired to teach.

“She should be able to teach art. But when you bring in, you know, your own political views or political ideologies, that, you know, I definitely think that’s a no, no,” the parent reportedly said.

Numerous other schools have reportedly instructed students or teachers to participate in sessions on police brutality, usually as part of “antiracism” or Critical Race Theory (CRT) initiatives.

CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet teaches students to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.

At Buffalo Public Schools, kindergarten students were taught about “racist police and state-sanctioned violence,” which involved teachers showing images of black children who have died. (RELATED: REPORT: Public School Requires Kindergarteners To Watch Video Of Dead Black Children To Warn Against ‘State-Sanctioned Violence’)

At Cherokee Middle School, which is part of the Springfield Public Schools in Missouri, teachers were reportedly told to identify themselves on an “oppression spectrum,” and then watched a video of “George Floyd’s last words.”