Arlington teacher relieved of duties for racially insensitive reference in lesson


ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — A teacher in Arlington, Va. has been relieved of his teaching duties after making a racially insensitive reference in one of his teaching exercises.

The teacher from H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program used the death of George Floyd in one of his chemistry lessons in the question:

“George Floyd couldn’t breathe because a police officer put his __ George’s neck.”

The correct answer to the question was the chemical element, neon.

The superintendent of Arlington Public Schools released a statement that condemned the reference calling it an act of “Extremely poor judgment” and showed “a blatant disregard for African American lives.”

“The content referenced the killing of George Floyd in an unacceptable and senseless way, which hurt and alarmed our students, staff, families, and the community. This act violates the core values of the school system and reinforces the importance of the work we have been doing and must continue to do, to employ culturally responsive teaching practices and to combat systemic racism.”

In the statement, Dr. Francisco Durán also applauded the students who reported the incident.

Dr. Durán’s full statement can be read here.

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