A teacher planned to erase Whites from her classroom décor

It's that time of year when the dog days of summer give way to the excitement of going back to school.  Children tow their parents through the store, on the hunt for trendy backpacks, lunchboxes, and outfits.  Parents shell out thousands of dollars to make sure their children have everything they need, and much that they don't, for the coming year.  The biggest concern of most families is that their child receives quality instruction while having an enjoyable experience in the classroom.

However, in Utah, parents of children attending William Penn Elementary near Salt Lake City got a nasty shock when a 4th-grade teacher announced on social media that it was her first year teaching at a majority White school and she was interested to see whether "posh white parents" would be opposed to her classroom, which was designed to cater to non-white students.

The backlash was swift.  Concerned parents reported the incident to the school.  To her credit, the school principal took swift action, issuing a statement that it was her "personal commitment ... to ensure every student feels safe and welcome," and that it is "inappropriate for any employee to make students feel unwelcome in any way, shape or form."  The teacher removed the offensive post and apologized.  The district is now investigating to determine if any of its policies have been violated.

More than 85% of the students at William Penn Elementary are White.  Whatever the district investigation shows, I would question its wisdom if it chooses to retain a teacher who is spoiling for a fight with White parents no matter how many White kids are in the student population.  I also question the competence of a teacher who is unwilling to design a classroom to fit the community in which she will be teaching.  I hope for an outcome that sees William Penn Elementary find a teacher who wants to nurture all the students without regard for their skin color.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of Future Slave, a story about a 21st-century black teenager who goes back in time and becomes a slave in the Old South.

Image: Twitter screen grab.

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