Texas Teacher Put on Leave for Having Black Lives Matter and Pride Signs in Virtual Classroom
A Bitmoji virtual classroom got a teacher in some trouble, but she isn't backing down.
9th grade English teacher Taylor Lifka was put on administrative leave the day before classes were about to begin in her district in the Rio Grande Valley. Administrators told her they received complaints about some of her virtual materials and needed time to investigate them.
The materials in question were a Black Lives Matter poster, a Pride flag that said this is a safe space for everyone, and a feminist saying in Spanish that translates to "My struggle is your struggle', or 'My fight is your fight'. "It’s an opportunity for kids to enter my space who might feel closed off to the world right now and feel like they can take a deep breath when they sit down in my class, and they can focus on the lesson, which is always about English," Lifka said.
Lifka is not taking the posters down from her virtual classroom. "I told my assistant principal point blank that the moment I take down these posters is the moment that I tell my kids in the back that they don’t matter," Lifka said. "And I was never going to be okay with that."
Marian Knowlton, a politician, said this is as an example of the education system's "Leftist indoctrination." "(In the graphic) they were talking about inclusivity (but) I didn't see anything there that might represent certainly my values or what I believe in," she added. This did all start from some parents complaining, but many parents have also come to her defense.
More teachers should embrace (the idea of inclusive classrooms like Ms. Lifka)," Sylvia Barrera . "All of Roma ISD should be an inclusive space, a space where children, teens and teachers feel comfortable and accepted." Halfway through the first week of school, the district took Lifka off her administrative leave. She did not return to the classroom after they rescinded her leave.
"What I’m looking for right now is for the district to say when another parent calls and says, ‘We don’t believe in this,' they’ll say, ‘What Ms. Lifka is doing follows our protocol and our procedure and our policy that we support anti-racist spaces, and we teach tolerance in our classroom,'" Lifka said Thursday. "This was never just about my job. It’s a call to our community and our district to say ‘What matters?'"
Lifka says she plans to return to teaching in a few days and hopes the district changes their policy on things like this in the future.