What if George Floyd, who was made a media martyr after dying in the custody of the Minneapolis police, had simply followed police orders? Would he still be alive?
Not just a good question, but the basis for a lot of educational discussion as well.
Yet a high school teacher in Fairbanks, Alaska is on administrative leave after daring to ask the question and allowing it to be captured on video.
In a 15-minute video posted YouTube on Apr. 29, the Lathrop High School teacher talks with her class about blacks being killed in confrontations with police, including the death of Floyd, KUAC reports.
“I’m an old white lady and if the cops came up to me and said ma’am, put your hands behind your back, you’re going to jail…I’m putting my hands behind my back,” she reasons.
She is now on paid administrative leave for “racially insensitive comments” and the incident is under investigation by the school district, Principal Carly Sween said April 30, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Sween said she and Assistant Principal Clarice Mingo have met with students to discuss the video and “provide opportunities for them to reflect on the situation,” the newspaper reported. The teacher has not been identified but is addressed in the video as “Ms. Gardner.”
In the video, the teacher also spoke about avoiding problems with the police by dressing appropriately.
“Look at how you guys are dressed. You’re dressed nicely,” she said. “You don’t look like thugs. You don’t have your pants down around your knees.”