A Miami high school with a 98 percent minority student body is under fire after it allowed a teacher to hang a “Keep It Flying” confederate banner in the classroom despite complaints from uncomfortable students.
According to the Miami New Times, Hialeah Gardens charter school Mater Academy principal Jose Nuñez confirmed that an email was sent out warning students about the confederate flag being placed on the classroom wall to spark conversation.
“Traditionally, lessons about World War II often times show a swastika; lessons about the Holocaust feature images of the concentration camps; and discussions of the slave trade feature harrowing images of the oppression of slavery,” Nuñez wrote.
“The image of the flag was used in this context. An AP American History teacher used the image of the Confederate flag, along with pictures of heroes from the civil rights movement, as part of a lesson about the evils of racism and the history of the civil rights movement in the United States. The teacher gave each class period warning that they would see upsetting images. The goal was to educate, inform, and discuss race relations and civil rights as part of a high school curriculum.”
But students, who claim to have previously heard the teacher express far-right views such as, the Confederate soldiers were fighting for “states’ rights” and the North “should have lost” the war, have said that they strongly believe their teacher put the flag up to taunt them.
“If it would have been any other teacher, I would have given him or her the benefit of the doubt. … But coming from him, I really think he was just trying to ‘trigger’ kids,” a former student of the educator told the Miami New Times.
The student, who chose to stay remain anonymous in order to avoid retaliation, also said the teacher used to “call us ‘snowflakes’ all the time,” adding, “He was really open about being a Libertarian.”
Those disappointed by the school’s inability to take a stance against this teacher have taken to social media to voice their frustrations, with one user posting, “It’s sad that a history teacher isn’t aware the Confederacy stood for more than states rights, and although the flag has never officially represented traitors, it’s come to represent a heritage that doesn’t even represent Hialeah and instead focuses on bigotry.”
Lynn Norman-Teck, the executive director of the Florida Charter School Alliance defended the confederate banner stating that although it is technically “not part of the classroom decor” neither are “images of heroes from the civil rights movement,” and that those offended by it being used as part of an AP American History class lesson, are taking the image completely out of context.
Mater is a disgrace now smh…. disappointed but not surprised https://t.co/FKtx7eZWXq
— Zakiya Adderley (@zakiyaadderley) November 21, 2018