School board meeting erupts after fourth grade teacher distributes pro-Black Lives Matter curriculum to class

A school board meeting erupted into a shouting match this week over controversy surrounding a fourth grade teacher passing out Black Lives Matter literature to students.“Is the teacher pushing her own personal agenda on the students?” one board meeting attendee said about the controversy which was not on the official agenda but came up anyway. “The answer is yes.”According to Fox 6 News, the teacher at Cooper Elementary School in Burlington, Wisconsin, recently passed out Black Lives Matter messaging to students that included questions such as “What are people protesting?” and “How can we stop systemic racism?”

(Screenshot / FOX 6)

The teacher, identified as fourth grade teacher Melissa Statz, was reportedly hired last month and has received support from members of the community.

“Black Lives Matter is not religious. It is not political. It is a human right,” said Darnisha Garbade, who heads the Burlington Coalition to Dismantle Racism.

“Why would parents get so angry about their children learning how to value the lives of black and brown people?” she added. “To me, that’s even more of a reason why the district needs to take action.”

The school district superintendent explained that the material was not approved by school officials.

“We learned last night that a fourth grade classroom at Cooper Elementary School shared Black Lives Matter resource materials as part of a conversation and social studies lesson,” Superintendent Steve Plank said. “The use of this resource was an individual decision, not part of the approved curriculum for Cooper Elementary School or the BASD. When we explored why this material was used, we learned that the class discussion ranged from how police officers protect us to why protests sometimes turn violent.”

Additionally, Plank staff have been reminded to “use supplemental resources that are age and developmentally appropriate without religious or political influence.”

Images obtained by Washington Examinerfrom a Burlington school district alumnus show literature teaching the children about George Floyd, who was killed by police on May 25, and linking that death to “systemic racism.”

“On May 25 he [George Floyd] was killed by a police officer who forced his knee on George’s neck,” one page read. “George could not breathe and he died. People all around America and the world saw videos of this and became very angry and upset.”

The description of Floyd’s death without additional context was followed by a paragraph about “systemic racism” and how “innocent black and brown people have been harmed for hundreds of years” because of their skin color.

Image provided to the Washington Examiner

The literature also describes the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement, describing it as a group started “after a 17-year-old African American boy named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed walking home from the store.”

The paragraph then explains that the women who created Black Lives Matter were “upset when the courts decided that the man who killed Trayvon was not guilty. This was not fair, and they wanted things to change.”

(Image provided to the Washington Examiner)

Another sheet explains that “systemic racism” happens because “most of the people who make the rules are usually not people of color.”

(Image provided to the Washington Examiner)

*story by The Washington Examiner