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A Florida Teachers Poster of Black Historical Figures Was REMOVED, So He Resigned

A Florida elementary school teacher resigned from his job this week following a co-worker removed a bulletin board he made featuring prominent Black Americans like Martin Luther King Jr. and Colin Powell alongside the Pledge of Allegiancebecause it had been allegedly deemed not age-appropriate for students.

Special education teacher Michael James, 61, sent his resignation notice to the superintendent of Escambia County Tim Smith and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday explaining his reason behind leaving O.J. Semmes Elementary School in Pensacola. James, whos white, criticized them for creating and allowing a host in school where in fact the celebration of Black figures in the classroom is grounds for conflict.

Am I to trust Escambia County Schools employs the ones that dislike African Americans? James wrote in his letter, based on the Pensacola News Journal, which first reported the story. Will there be a dislike in whatever states ‘One Nation Under God’ inside it?

A spokesman for the institution district told VICE News that the incident had been under investigation.

While decorating his classroom in preparation for his first academic year at the institution Monday, James told the outlet he set up a display showing at the very least five Black American heroes, including Harriet Tubman and George Washington Carver. Only a week in to the job, the teacher said he spent about $58 of their own money and hours of his time creating the board because O.J. Semmes is situated in a predominantly Black portion of the county with a predominantly Black student body, and wanted students to see important historical figures who appeared as if them.

Whenever a behavior analyst and behavior coach came by the area to greatly help James prepare, one of these started taking down the posters, in accordance with James.

She said something such as, It wasnt age-appropriate, he recalled.

James said that whenever the educator noticed a portrait of former President Barack Obama near his desk, she grabbed that too, adding he didnt have to put this up either as the kids are too young.

I thought, ‘This may be the first Black president, James said. Ive been teaching special education for 15 years, also it really floored me when she did that.

The districts spokesperson told VICE News that both educators refute James account of what happened. They state they only challenged the keeping the poster because you can find state-required curricular materials which are said to be placed behind the teachers desk. In addition they say they asked James if he minded that the poster be removed, to that they say he agreed.

The posters were left in the classroom, for Mr. James to utilize as he so chose, the spokesperson said within an email. Had Mr. James objected in those days or had he raised his concerns with school administration, we believe this example might have been resolved to the satisfaction of most parties.

Based on the Pensacola News Journal, though he initially allow teacher take away the poster, James said the more he considered what she did, the more upset he became. James said he had been questioning the institution since it was in disrepair, which he thought to be an indicator of having less investment in almost all Black school.

“Personally i think like sometimes they’re rooked no one is speaking for them and that school, he said. Im wondering what sort of equitable division of money has been done for that school in comparison to other schools in other wealthier regions of Pensacola or Escambia County.

James considered reporting the incident to the main but ultimately decided that school leadership would do little to repair the problem, prompting him to resign.

Earlier this season, Florida passed the Stop Woke Act, barring schools from teaching topics that suggest certain Americans are oppressed or privileged predicated on their race, color, sex, or origins. The bill was a significant win for Gov. DeSantis who is a staunch opponent of critical race theory and contains repeatedly refused to acknowledge the impact race has already established on the U.S.

A minumum of one of the governors political opponents, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, said that James story may be the direct consequence of DeSantis stance on education.

James, whos taught at schools in Hawaii, Georgia, and Alabama, told the News Journal he’s got few concerns over finding another job in the coming weeks.

Ill be teaching somewhere in per month, he said. I’ve excellent credentials.

Follow Trone Dowd on Twitter.

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