A Texas school district outside Dallas has suspended one of its teachers after a Facebook photo went viral showing the female teacher placing her foot on the neck of a black ten-year-old boy in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict.
The unnamed teacher from Lamar Elementary in Greenville posted the photo on Facebook on Tuesday, the same day Derek Chauvin was found guilty in the death of George Floyd – a black man who died May 25, 2020 after a white police officer placed his knee on his neck following arrest.
“It will be thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action will be taken,” said Demetrus Liggins, the school district’s superintendent, who called the photo “inappropriate.”
According to the Dailymail, the pupil, Zaelyn Jackson, defended his teacher, saying that she was ‘just playing’ in the staged image and that she did not mean any harm.
The teacher is friends with Zaelyn’s mother, and she texted her the image accompanied by a joke which claimed she could put her foot on his neck if he did not return an assignment, the report said.
The boy’s mother saw the funny side of the ‘staged photo’ but the boy’s father and other members of the family did not.
The student’s father identified as Shamell told WFAA:
”I didn’t like it from the moment I saw it.
”I don’t really understand the whole situation, but all I know is it was never supposed to happen.”
The mother said she had known the teacher for years and they had a close relationship and the boy was not injured at all.
She told NBC 5: ”I didn’t think anything of it. It was “ha ha” and I moved on.
”The picture then began to bother me a little bit, showed it to my family and they got really upset about it.”
The mother added that she does not believe the teacher is racist or deserves to lose her job over the ‘joke’.
The Greenville Independent School District (GISD) sent an apology letter to all parents at the school and said they are investigating the incident.
GISD Superintendent Demtrus Liggins said: ”My initial reaction was disgust. That is not who we are.
”That picture does not define our teachers, it does not define the way we treat our students and what the expectation is throughout our district.”
In the letter to parents, the Greenville ISD said: ‘Earlier today, a highly upsetting picture depicting a Black student with a foot on his neck was posted and circulated on social media.
”Upon learning about this, we immediately contacted the family to check on the student to ensure his well-being. We will continue to be in touch with the family to be sure the student feels comfortable and safe on campus.
”Our Human Resources Department immediately contacted the employee who staged the picture. We take this situation very seriously. It will be thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action will be taken.
”We have heard from many community members, and we understand their concern and anger. Greenville ISD embraces diversity and believes in the importance of treating all people with respect and dignity.”