An Oklahoma teacher must have forgotten her filter during class last week, as her comments to a 13-year-old Black student about his apparel landed her on paid administrative leave, pending the final results of an investigation.
According to The Blaze, the teacher took issue with the t-shirt worn by Latrell Taft, which stated “Black King” with the African continent in the background as the design. The student had just received the shirt as a gift and was reportedly excited to wear it to school that week.
During science class at Heartland Middle School last week, the teacher signaled Taft out because of his shirt, asking him what he thought it meant. Of course, any 13-year-old being signaled out by a teacher in the middle of class is never a comfortable situation for a student, race aside.
The teacher apparently went on a tirade, which Taft said left him humiliated.
“She said that if she had a shirt that said white queen it would have been racist,” Latrell told local news station KFOR. “Then after that, she said we need a white history month. I said black people don’t have enough recognition and we barely learn about black people in February at my school.”
Adding the humiliation, Taft said that a majority of his classmates took the teacher’s side on the matter.
“I was embarrassed,” Taft said.
Not surprisingly, once Melisa Shirley, Taft’s mother, got wind of the situation, she immediately called the school, though she said at first she felt like she was “brushed off” by the faculty as if the incident was not a big deal.
“I am proud of my blackness, and she will never take it away from me,” Latrell Taft said. “I am a king because I think I’m a king.” https://t.co/vW3n43gxxo
— KLBK News (@KLBKNews) February 26, 2021
As these situations tend to go, the issue was escalated to the Edmond Public Schools administration, which launched an investigation to determine whether or not the 13-year-old was the “target of discrimination, bullying, or racism” while vowing to take “appropriate and swift action” if that’s the result of the investigation.
A statement released by the school district made clear what its stance is on the subject of bullying and racism, writing that it “has taken numerous steps to address discrimination in Edmond schools, including providing professional development for staff on the issue of unconscious bias and ensuring equity for all. The district administration is continuing to assess the need for more training and professional development in this important area.”
Luckily for Taft, it was reported that several of his schoolmates have already apologized for being caught up in the debate and siding with the teacher. But Taft made crystal clear that he’s proud of his heritage, adding that he doesn’t feel comfortable returning to school if the teacher that targeted him remains employed.
Meetings between school administration and the teacher have already been held, reportedly, however, anything discussed in those meetings will remain confidential for now, presumably until the investigation is complete.
There’s a time and place to have those kinds of debates, but they should be between adults and not in a classroom with a 13-year-old child.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org