In Tennessee, officials are investigating a public elementary school teacher’s message to kids.
As reported by WVLT, an art teacher introduced 4th and 5th graders at Knoxville’s Sterchi Elementary School to the notion of racial injustice.
The method of choice: a video called Something Happened in Our Town.
The video — like its hardcover version — has collected quite a bit of controversy due to its portrayal of law enforcement and racism.
The plot involves the news story of a white officer shooting an unarmed black man, as viewed through the eyes of a young black boy and white girl.
When the girl asks why the man was fired upon, her sister replies, “It wasn’t a mistake. The cops shot him because he was black.”
As for the little boy, his dad ensures him the cop “won’t go to jail.”
Because “cops stick up for each other.”
“And they don’t like black men.”
The kid inquires, “What if it was a white man in the car?”
His father is clear: “They probably wouldn’t have even stopped the car.”
The girl’s mom summarizes law enforcement’s MO: “[T]his pattern is being nice to white people and mean to black people.”
Apparently, not every parent is happy for their child to learn such lessons.
In Knoxville, a lady told CBS8 her 5th-grade son was made to watch Something Happened in Our Town on Monday.
The way she sees it, parents should’ve been able to opt their children out.
“It was very misleading. A lot of misinformation in that and to be teaching 10 and 11-year-old children were just really a huge red flag for us as parents. We felt like things were, you know, stereotypes and generalizations about people. And just all over, you know, all around blanket statements.”
Her two kids’ uncle is a police officer, and her daughter was particularly troubled by the story:
“She just kept saying that, you know, Uncle So-and-so is one of the nicest people she knows. And so we had to reiterate to her that yes, you know, there are a lot of nice cops out there, you know, and a lot of nice, everybody out there, and there’s bad everybody out there.”
She emailed the principal to find out if the material was officially sanctioned.
The principal confirmed it was not.
“She did call me and we had a discussion over the phone, where she did explain that that was material that was not approved by her at all… she wasn’t aware that the video was being shown. So she apologized for that and said that she had given it to her superiors to follow up through.”
In the words of WVLT, school supervisor Adam Parker touted a plan to “retrain teachers on sensitive material.”
It’s not the first time the video’s been shown to youngsters courtesy of the government.
Last September, I covered the cartoon getting played for Seattle 2nd Graders.
From that article:
Not everyone was crazy for the video. In fact, two parents complained.
As a result, the assignment was pulled. However, as explained by Director of Communications, Engagement, and Outreach Jodi Runyon, the teacher had no “ill intent.”
“There really isn’t a story here,” she insisted to KTTH. “Essentially, its a non-story.”
Furthermore, Jodi pointed out the situation occurred “toward the end of the last semester, when the school wasn’t just trying to figure out how to deal with the pandemic, but trying to figure out how to address social injustice.”
Perhaps those topics are too heavy for 7-year-olds.
And maybe even 10- and 11-year-olds.
Either way, Something Happened in Their Town — Knoxville, that is.
And Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas — via a statement — says they’re on it:
“We are aware of the situation. This book is not approved for use in our curriculum and I have asked our Human Resources Department to investigate the matter.”
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