Parents are in their feelings—actually, wait, that’s not accurate. White parents are in their feelings after a Georgia teacher displayed a Black Lives Matter poster in her classroom.
AJC reports that Paige McGaughey, a white teacher at Alton C. Crews Middle School in Lawrenceville, Ga., told the news outlet that she put up the poster to signal to her Black students that she was an ally following the death of George Floyd in May. “I know that deep learning can only occur when students feel safe,” McGaughey, who’s taught for 20 years, told AJC. “I also have decor and books in my classroom library that show multiculturalism regarding LGBTQ+, Muslim students, immigrants and so on.”
Given that many students and teachers had thanked her for displaying the poster, McGaughey was surprised at the negative reaction that some of the parents have had. She said that some parents have accused her of indoctrinating their children while others were concerned she was only going to teach “Black stuff.”
I really don’t know why parents are so concerned about the latter. Having spent 12 years of my life in the public school system learning “white stuff,” pivoting to “Black stuff” would honestly just be a much needed improvement.
Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said that McGaughey wasn’t asked to remove the poster, though the district did ask her to think about how the poster could be less distracting for students. “Our employees do have the same civic responsibilities and privileges as any other citizen, including actively supporting causes,” Roach told AJC. “However, that is not usually done in the workplace as it can become an effectiveness issue if it creates a disruption to the learning environment.”
McGaughey has said that her “effectiveness,” as a teacher has frequently been brought up in her conversations with school officials about the poster. “HR would not tell me to remove it, but kept saying it impacts my effectiveness as a teacher,” she told AJC. She was also told that she may face consequences if more parents begin to complain.
Despite all the unnecessary controversy, McGaughey has elected to keep the poster up. “All children matter to me,” she said. “As the mother of a gay child, I wish more teachers had embraced my child’s ‘differences’ in school. If they had, middle school may have been a bit easier for my child.”
It’s amazing how something as simple as “Black Lives Matter,” has white people so pressed. Like what’s really the worst thing that can happen here? A kid grows up and isn’t racist? God forbid parents allow that to happen.