A Texas teacher has been suspend after sharing a ‘staged photo’ which shows her standing with her foot on a black student’s neck.
The unnamed educator, who works at Lamar Elelmentary in Greenville, sent the image to the black pupil’s mom on Tuesday – the same day that Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.
The student, Zaelyn Jackson, 11, has defended his teacher, saying that she was ‘just playing’ in the staged image and that she did not mean any harm.
The teacher is friends with Zaelyn’s mother, and she texted her the image accompanied by a joke which claimed she could put her foot on his neck if he did not return an assignment.
Zaelyn and his mother saw the funny side but the boy’s father and other family members did not, and the teacher is now on administrative leave pending an investigation by the school district.
Ms Jackson even rang up to the school to beg them not to fire the teacher but they said the decision was in the hands of the superintendent.
A Texas school has suspended a teacher after she staged a photo placing her foot on the neck of a black 11-year-old boy in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict
Zaelyn Jackson (pictured) said he does not believe the teacher should be fired after the ‘joke’
Zaelyn’s father Shamell told WFAA: ‘I didn’t like it from the moment I saw it.
‘I don’t really understand the whole situation, but all I know is it was never supposed to happen.’
The mother said she had known the teacher for years and they had a close relationship and Zaelyn was not injured at all.
She told NBC 5: ‘I didn’t think anything of it. It was “ha ha” and I moved on.
‘The picture then began to bother me a little bit, showed it and my family got really upset about it.’
The mother added that she does not believe the teacher is racist or deserves to lose her job over the ‘joke’.
Zaelyn agreed, saying the teacher should not be fired as he told CBS 11: ‘I think she was doing it as a joke. Like, she didn’t put pressure on it or anything.
‘I feel like she was just playing. She didn’t mean harm.’
But, he said he understood why some people could be upset with the image, adding: ‘People would think she were just trying to copy George Floyd.’
The Greenville Independent School District sent an apology letter to all parents at the school and said they are investigating the incident
The Greenville Independent School District sent an apology letter to all parents at the school and said they are investigating the incident after the photo was widely shared on Facebook.
‘That picture does not define our teachers, it does not define the way we treat our students and what the expectation is throughout our district.’
The Facebook post had been taken down by Wednesday but the photo was still circulating online.
Zaelyn was kept at home for his safety and the mother has since spoken to the teacher on the phone who assured her she would never do anything to hurt her child.
The unnamed teacher from Lamar Elementary (pictured) in Greenville is on administrative leave after the photo was taken on Tuesday and posted on Facebook
The mother reached out to the district and asked them not to fire the teacher but they said the decision would ultimately be up to the superintendent.
Liggins had learned about the photo on Tuesday night during a school board meeting and he immediately reached out to the family.
In a letter to parents, the Greenville ISD said: ‘Earlier today, a highly upsetting picture depicting a Black student with a foot on his neck was posted and circulated on social media.
‘Upon learning about this, we immediately contacted the family to check on the student to ensure his well-being. We will continue to be in touch with the family to be sure the student feels comfortable and safe on campus.
‘Our Human Resources Department immediately contacted the employee who staged the picture. We take this situation very seriously. It will be thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action will be taken.
‘We have heard from many community members, and we understand their concern and anger. Greenville ISD embraces diversity and believes in the importance of treating all people with respect and dignity.’