20-Year Catholic High School Teacher Gets Fired for Questioning Whether George Floyd Couldn't Breathe

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

In Ohio, a teacher was recently axed over issues concerning the death of George Floyd.

As reported by The Columbus Dispatch, Bishop Ready High theology instructor Deborah DelPrince shared her thoughts on what caused George’s May 25th passing beneath the knee of Minnesota Officer Derek Chauvin.

According to Deborah — as expressed during a virtual class meeting on February 24th — it’s not so certain the man couldn’t breathe.

Deborah was remarking upon a student’s screen — it featured a photo of LeBron James sporting a shirt with the phrase “I can’t breathe.”

She spoke the words that would put her out of work:

“‘I can’t breathe’ — that’s not necessarily true. But it perpetuates a myth against police.”

DelPrince continued.

“I’m not sure LeBron James is in the position to be disrespectful to police officers, primarily because he probably doesn’t go anywhere without a bodyguard.”

An obviously confused student responded, “I’m sorry — did you just say that it’s disputed that George Floyd couldn’t breathe?”

“Yes, it is disputed,” she replied.

“By who?” the student asked.

Deborah’s answer:

“The tape.”

The student started to further inquire:

“Did the medical examiner — nevermind.”

Deborah:

“Okay.”

“‘Cause I’m gonna say something that’s gonna get me in trouble,” the student finished.

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus released a statement on the matter concurrent with a probe:

These comments, contrary to school and diocesan guidelines, reflected extremely poor judgment and, upon learning of this incident, the instructor was immediately placed on administrative leave pending a detailed investigation.

According to the diocese, Deborah’d “made unsupported personal assertions and opinions” during the class.

The following Tuesday, Chancellor Deacon Thomas Berg announced she’d been let go just two days after the class-time occurrence.

A worthy detail is the fact that LeBron’s shirt had nothing to do with George Floyd.

From the Dispatch:

James wore that shirt before a basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets in December 2014 after Eric Garner died in July 2014 when a New York City Police Department officer put him in a choke-hold while arresting him.

The outlet relays it called Deborah for input on the incident.

When reached by phone for a comment Tuesday afternoon, she hung up immediately.

It seems to me that, if the diocese was going to make a statement on what its teacher had claimed, it would’ve been more meaningful to have addressed her assertion and explained why she was wrong. There was an opportunity for discussion and clarity — for parents, for Deborah, and for the student who never completed that last question.

Still, a discussion was had — on Twitter:

As for the above references to her having been “disrespectful” or “hurtful” in the past, the teacher’s certainly had plenty of opportunity for such.

Deborah had taught at the school for over 21 years.

-ALEX

 

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