South Bend schools teacher outrages parents with Black Lives Matter comments
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A Clay International Academy English teacher outraged parents with inflammatory and false comments he made about the Black Lives Matter movement. The teacher was talking to his students about a research project of some kind when he said Black Lives Matter has caused more trouble in the United States than it has united people and is responsible for 850,000 deaths in the United States over the last seven years with no facts backing that up. One student's mother said she will be removing her daughter from the class regardless of what leadership at the South Bend Community School Corporation decides.
"Black Lives Matter actually creates more adversity in our society and more controversial topics and more violence than they create peace," the eighth grade English and Language Arts teacher said in the recording.
Miya Edwards' daughter was attending the class via video chat since South Bend Schools are still in virtual classes only. Edwards said what she saw in the recording stunned her.
"I was actually really really shocked," Edwards said. "I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and I'm still flabbergasted by it."
District officials were not available for interviews, but Superintendent Todd Cummings said in a statement "I am fully aware of this situation and have shared with the Board of School Trustees. We are taking swift action and I have turned the matter to the corporation's Human Resources department to be dealt with appropriately after a thorough investigation. Teachers must always be mindful of the power and influence they have on students. It is unacceptable for a teacher ever to push a personal political agenda in the classroom. I will be keeping a particularly close eye on the outcome of this process through HR."
Darryl Heller is the director of the IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center. He said it's important to discuss things like Black Lives Matter in the classroom, but it must be done with care and without a political point of view.
"I like and think that it's useful for students to do their own research and then facilitate conversations and discussions," Heller said.
Edwards said it's a good thing classes are virtual right now. Otherwise, the teacher may not have been caught.
"It's a good thing that we are here at home and everything is being recorded now because he could have been in a classroom saying that to the kids, and granted kids do have their phones, but they're not allowed to have their phones out."
Edwards said the district can decide whatever it wants, but she has already made up her mind.
"He won't be teaching my child," Edwards said. "Regardless of what the school decides to do about it or what the board decides to do about it, he's not going to be teaching my child."
The South Bend Community School Corporation said it will leave the investigation up to its Human Resources Department which will determine how to proceed after this incident.