A teacher from Alaska’s Fairbanks city has been suspended after she allegedly made an insensitive comment about late hip-hop artist George Floyd, killed in police custody in the US, during a discussion in her class. During a discussion in an online class conducted over Zoom, the teacher from Lathrop High School told her students that Floyd would still have been alive if he had complied with Minneapolis police officers.
A 15-minute video of the class was also put up on YouTube last week. In the clip, it is unclear how the conversation started but the masked high school teacher referred to as Ms Gardner can be seen leading a discussion about the police shooting dead high-profile African-Americans. When the topic turned to Floyd, she did not defend former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin but said if Floyd had complied with police orders, he wouldn’t have been shot.
Further in the video, the teacher can be heard saying that the police do not have time to choose between their gun and a taser. Later in the video, the teacher advised the students on how to dress to avoid trouble with the police. She insinuated that the students should not dress like “thugs” with their “pants around their knees” if they do not want to be targeted by cops.
As the clip went viral, the teacher came under fire.The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has not publicly named the teacher, but it has been known that Ms Gardner is a special education teacher at Lathrop High.
On April 28, a parentnotifiedthe school about the teacher’s comments after which The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District sent a letter to the parents informing them that the teacher has been put on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. Lathrop High’s principal Carly Sween too described the comment as “racially insensitive.”
Last month, the court convicted Chauvin of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9.29 minutes while trying to subdue and arrest him on a charge of passing counterfeit money.