Elementary School Teachers Pose With Noose, Claim They Didn’t Know Racist History
For as many White people who have been accused of racist acts only to dub themselves not racist in the aftermath, we have to wonder, ‘Well, what is that racists do?’ For one reason or another, White people have become more offended by being described as racist than actually inflicting racist actions of people of color—particularly Black people.
There are scads of incidents from the man down the street to the man in the White house. But for this particular example we’re talking about a group of four teachers from the Palmdale School District in California.
According to the LA Times, four teachers were placed on administrative leave after they posed with a noose and posted the picture on social media. To make matters worse, the principal took the picture.
An investigator for the school district somehow found that the women weren’t motivated by racism and were unaware of the pain and hurt their actions would cause the school community.
The report did claim that the actions of the teachers from Summerwind Elementary this past May were “ignorant, lacked judgment, and exhibited a gross disregard for professional decorum in a school setting.”
A community town hall meeting was held to discuss the concerns of community members.
In July, the principal, who used her phone to take the picture, resigned.
The first grade teachers told investigators that the noose photo was a joke suggesting that they “hang in there until summer” or that “we’ve reached the end of our rope.”
The principal and all four teachers, who remained nameless in the report claimed to have no knowledge of the racist symbolism of the noose. One teacher, whose family allegedly attends rodeos, associated the looped rope with the Wild Wild West. Another thought it could be offensive if a person had a family member that committed suicide. Another teacher didn’t know what a noose was until her husband sent her a link explaining its racial significance.
The investigator recommended cultural sensitivity training.
David Garcia, a spokesperson for the school district said district leaders were reviewing the report to determine if any disciplinary action should be taken.
He told The Times, “This is offensive, period. … The board is committed to seeing this to the end. This investigation report validates all the ill feelings, all the hurt, all the pain that the Palmdale School District and its community suffered. I don’t want to say stupid, but this was a pretty dumb thing to do.”
The teachers said they found the noose in a dusty storage room while they were looking for items they could use in their classroom.
The teachers took the noose to share it with other staff members. The principal snapped the picture and apparently sent it to another staffer. Eventually, the picture ended up online where the public outcry began.
Parents were so offended by the image that many kept their children home from school as a result.
During a community meeting, one parent suggested that the district review the curriculum to ensure that everyone knows the horrific truth about slavery and the trauma that persists today.
According to the report, a representative for the parent coalition said, “We trusted you. By God we trusted you. As parents we wake up in the morning every morning and we bring our children to this institution with hope that they receive quality education,” a representative for a coalition of parents said, according to the report.
“Now as parents you have left us with not only a heavy heart but the responsibility to sit our children down next to us to explain to them that their ancestors’ efforts toward freedom and civil rights is a mere mockery to their teachers and principal. What was so funny? I’d love to hear the punchline that was told before the picture was taken. What was so funny? 400 years of oppression is not a joke to me and nothing to laugh at.”