Educating children about the truth of America’s history is imperative, as is how teachers approach doing so.
One teacher at a Houston middle school proved that after allegedly traumatizing a Black student during an inappropriate lesson about slavery and the Civil War.
According to KPRC 2, Tori Ards, the student’s mother, said her daughter excels in sports and academics.
“She is in advanced courses. She is in the eighth grade but taking ninth-grade courses,” Ards said.
She added she learned of the situation via the school’s assistant principal, who contacted her shortly after it happened.
“She [the assistant principal] explained it to me as it was explained to her and then she put my daughter on the phone to let me know, in her own words, that the teacher had used her as an example of ‘a fugitive slave,'” Ards said.
Ards said her daughter explained that, in attempts to interpret the slave trade during the Civil War, she re-enacted what capturing and selling an enslaved person at an auction would look like. The teacher grabbed her daughter from her seat, brought her to the front of the class, and told her fellow students, “I could snatch her and take her to the South and sell her during slavery!”
Ards said the ordeal left her daughter feeling hurt and embarrassed.
“No student present should have been used as an example to teach any part of this lesson. It was uncalled for, it was unnecessary, it was damaging and hurtful,” she said.
Ards said this isn’t the first time the teacher has been called out for her inappropriate comments and lessons. For example, a few days before the re-enactment, Ards’ daughter called her during lunch and told her the teacher shared disturbing theories about the Confederate flag. The teacher said that while many, including the history books, argue the flag symbolizes slavery and oppression, she believes it has “nothing to do with slavery.”
The teacher allegedly added the controversial flag was a “good flag” created to empower Southern states’ rights.
Though the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District officials have said they’re investigating the teacher, the community is skeptical about how serious they’re taking the matter.
“This woman is crazy as hell!” minister and community activist Quanell X said during a press conference. “No one should have that kind of teacher in the classroom because they are already arguing in Texas about Critical Race Theory being taught in schools. Well if we leave that teacher in school to teach our young beautiful Black and Brown children, she would teach them that slavery was a choice. We should never have a wolf like this in sheep’s clothing teaching our babies!”
Of the flag incident, the minister argued the teacher wants to “re-write history” and show students the Confederate flag is not something to condemn. That messaging is incredibly dangerous, especially for Ards’ daughter.
“She went on to lie about that rusty, dirty, no good, dirty, low-down Confederate flag. That is not a flag that any human being would be proud of, and that flag did stand for slavery. That flag did fight for slavery, and that flag fought to make sure slavery and human indentured servitude was never ended and thank God that flag lost,” he said.
The minister and fellow leaders strongly urge the school board to stand firm against the teacher and remove her from the school.
“We are demanding that teacher be removed — not suspended — removed and she should never be allowed to teach anybody’s children regardless of the race of the student body,” Quanell X said.
The district has sent a letter to parents, acknowledging it is aware of the issue and looking “forward to a swift resolution to this matter and remain committed to providing a respectful, safe and supportive learning environment for our students.”