A high school teacher in Westchester County, New York, began his first day of school by handing out a photograph of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The controversial image compares the police to slave owners and members of the Ku Klux Klan, generating strong outrage in the educational community.
As reported by the New York Post, Westlake High School teacher Christoper Moreno gave his 11th-graders a brochure that included a five-frame cartoon series. The first three pictures show slave owners and a KKK member with their knees on the back of black men with their hands tied behind their backs. The KKK member also has a rope around the black man’s neck.
The last two images depict a current sheriff and police officer, as in the previous images, with his knees resting on the neck of a black man and the black man’s hands handcuffed behind his back. The black man is saying, “I can’t breathe.” Clearly alluding to what George Floyd said, when Police Officer Derek Chauvin smothered him causing his subsequent death and the subsequent violent protests by BLM that continue to this day.
The mother of one of the students in that class, upon seeing the material given to her daughter, was filled with indignation when she understood the event as an attack on the police forces that were being compared to the KKK. She immediately sent letters of protest to Mount Pleasant School District Superintendent Kurt Kotes and to Principal Keith Schenker, whose school is listed in the district.
A parent strongly objects to teacher inciting hatred
Contacting the New York Post, Ania Paternostro, the student’s mother, said, “Enough is enough. This cartoon is disturbing. We have to respect the men in blue who protect us. We don’t need a teacher brainwashing my kids. I’ll teach my kids about what’s right and what’s wrong.”
School District Superintendent Kurt Kotes, faced with the controversy surrounding the issue, decided to write a letter to Paternostro and the rest of the parents in the class promising to conduct an investigation into what happened.
“I want to assure the community that the District will be conducting a thorough investigation to determine what exactly occurred in this particular classroom and what, if any, action is to be taken under the circumstances to appropriately address the matter,’’ Kotes said in the letter.
He added, “Once the investigation has been completed we will follow up with the community to the extent necessary and legally appropriate.”
Student in New York state school objects to teacher spawning hatred
Paternostro’s daughter, Nicole, was also interviewed by the Post, expressing concern and outrage at the material provided by her teacher. The teenager said, “The cartoon is disgusting. It compares the police to all the terrible people in history. It is not fair. It ‘s not right.”
Nicole also reported being bullied on social networks in recent days, being accused of racism for making public the controversial work plan presented unilaterally by the teacher.
Rob Astorino, a Republican politician running for state senate in the Westchester district, told the Post, “Parents don’t send their children to school to learn to hate America and our police. Our schools should be a place for the open exchange of ideas, not political indoctrination. The false narratives and brainwashing has to stop.”