Texas Gov Calls for Firing of Teacher Who Compared Police to KKK in School Assignment
Greg Abbott says assignment was 'beyond unacceptable'
Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the backlash against a Texas school district teacher who compared law enforcement to the Ku Klux Klan in a school assignment.
“A teacher in a Texas public school comparing police officers to the KKK is beyond unacceptable."
"It’s the opposite of what must be taught. The teacher should be fired."
"I’m asking the Texas Education Agency to investigate and take action."
A teacher in a Texas public school comparing police officers to the KKK is beyond unacceptable.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) August 23, 2020
It’s the opposite of what must be taught.
The teacher should be fired.
I’m asking the Texas Education Agency to investigate and take action. https://t.co/DsCdp4fFaB
Abbott responded to the National Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Joe Gamaldi's tweet of an image that was part of an assignment for eighth-graders in the Wylie Independent School District in Collin County.
The cartoon showed figures kneeling on a black man.
The figures begin with a slave trader, then a slave owner, then a Klansman.
Following that came two figures representing police officers, with one sign saying "whites only.”
The black man is shown saying: “I can’t breathe,” the infamous last words of George Floyd before he died in police custody earlier this year.
“This is abhorrent and disgusting, and only further widens the gap between police officers and the youth in our community,” Gamaldi tweeted.
The assignment was quickly canceled by the school last week, KDFW-TV reported.
The social studies teacher at Cooper Junior High in Wylie gave the students the assignment as part of a lesson about the right to protest, included in the Bill of Rights.
The school issued an apology after admitting the assignment was not part of its curriculum.
“We are sorry for any hurt that may have been caused through a social studies lesson that included political cartoons that reflected negatively on law enforcement," the school district said.
"Wylie ISD values our school resource officers and all members of the law enforcement community,” it added.
Cooper Junior High Principal Shawn Miller told parents the assignment aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
“The teachers wanted to provide the students with current events to analyze the Bill of Rights,” Miller wrote.
The teacher who developed the assignment is yet to be identified.
The cartoon was disliked by the parents of one second-grader in the district.
“This makes kids afraid of police officers, and that is not something we need,” Lindsay Wilkinson told The Texan.
Lindsay's husband, Ian Wilkinson, who is a deputy with the Choctaw County Sheriff’s Department in Oklahoma, said:
“I don’t recall a time when I was this angry or offended. I don’t believe this is a healthy way to address the issue that we are painfully aware of."
“We are not, as a profession, in the business of hurting people. We get the call on the worst day of someone’s life. We try to help put people’s lives back together.”
Gamaldi, a Houston police officer, blasted the assignment arguing it was biased against police.
“It’s not as if they put the image out and said, ‘We’re going to have a police officer come in and tell you how that’s not true.’ That was just the image they put out,” he said, according to KDFW.
“At a time in our country where we are so desperate to bridge the gap with our community, where we need to rebuild trust, that teacher is preaching divisiveness.”