Teacher suspended after lesson on shooting


From the Selma (AL) Times-Journal:

A sixth grade Brantley Elementary teacher was put on paid administrative leave Wednesday after a Facebook post revealed the teacher allegedly instructed the students Tuesday to reenact a Ferguson, Mo. shooting known nationwide.

Jessica Baughn, the mother of Brantley sixth grade student Jimmy Griffin, posted a complaint Tuesday on the Sound Off Selma Facebook page. In the post, Guaghn expressed her shock after learning a teacher had told the class to reenact the shooting in which an unarmed Mike Brown was shot by police Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo.

Students were reportedly asked to research the shooting online, finding out such details as to how many times Brown was shot and where.

“I don’t think that it needs to be talked about at school at all, let alone reenacted,” Baughn said. “It scares me as a parent, because any one of those children could have picked up their aunt, uncle, grandma or whoever’s gun and pointed it at another child and it went off accidentally.”

What was she thinking???

(There aren’t enough FACTS out there to where anybody actually KNOWS what happened…there are just theories at this point. And even if there were enough facts, how in the world is this even CLOSE to appropriate for sixth grade students???)


What is the point in this reenactment?


We can only guess what the teacher thought she was doing by reenacting a criminal issue with 6th graders. I imagine, though, that, if she’s a left wing liberal, she thought she was teaching them to fear the police and blame them for the whole thing. Talk about inappropriate! Are our elementary teachers teaching class lessons or are they progagandizing for the liberal left? I have to wonder when I read stories like this one. :hmmm:


I think that is the most important point. This was an incident with huge emotional impact, with evidence, statements, facts still coming forth.

It may have been appropriate to have kids research just to identify all the conflicting information which came out and when, just to highlight how a story has many sides and develops. Differentiate the known from the unknown from conjecture and opinion. Certainly not to do any kind of re-enactment.


As a retired teacher, I can attest that most schools advise that talking, writing and investigating current news events is a GOOD thing, not something to shy away from. This school is in Alabama, so maybe the culture of the area has something to do with the teacher being suspended. I could understand the teacher being suspended for speaking about sexual issues - but goodness gracious - suspended for having a class discussion about a current even involving probable police over reaction in both the death of an unarmed teenager AND the use of paramilitary tactics by the small local police department that was given unused military equipment after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. :mad:


I tend to agree. Kids should be raised to think critically, understand the importance of not jumping to conclusions-- i.e. possible police over-reaction vice probable. They have to be able to look at multiple sources and account for both bias, and the press’s desire to get a story out there first --fast! fast! fast! Often with some kind of slant based on their biases- intentional or unintentional. A boss of mine used to say-‘First one to the chalkboard wins’ an equivalent to ‘A lie is half-way around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes’.

People so often take in the first story, and take that as fact, every story that follows is viewed through that filter. It takes a lot more weight/effort for a follow-on story with corrected facts to overcome the impression of the first accounts.

Militarization of the police has been a concern in some quarters for at least 10 years. Not just being given the equipment, but the attitude of ‘us vs them’ occupying force vice fellow citizens simply enforcing the law.

ETA: Re-enacting a story based only on stories/speculation in the first few days is wrong. It fails to do everything education should-- teach the student to think critically, understand the sources of information and limits.


I do agree that investigating the mish-mash of data that comes out during the initial events following a major incident in the news is a good thing. Similarly, teaching the ability the skills needed to being able to separate fact from emotion is extremely valuable, particularly when there are plenty of people around who attempt to manipulate people with weak minds through the conflation of fact and emotion.

But reenactments? To me, that appears to be an emotional technique that would be more appropriate for indoctrination rather than pedagogy.

If we are fans of major events, then perhaps we should have sixth grade students reenact the events leading to the end of James Foley’s life.

Perhaps we should have the students reenact events around revolutionary Syria.

Or would reenacting those events not contribute to indoctrinating the students as they should be indoctrinated? (while reenacting the events around the end of Michael Brown’s life would have the desired effect)


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