Students and parents at a Los Angeles charter school are rallying to the defense of a veteran teacher who’s being sued by a disgruntled student for saying things the girl doesn’t like – including calling Ferguson police shooting victim Michael Brown a “thug.”
The lawsuit names history teacher Steven Carmine of Paul Revere Charter School, according to the Los Angeles Times. It accuses him of discussing racial stereotypes in class in a way that made the girl think he agreed with them.
Statements Carmine is alleged to have said, according to the Los Angeles City News Service, include:
“Black people are judged for not being smart because they are not smart. A lot of them are just athletes” and “We all know Jews like to hoard their money.”
In discussing the Civil War, the suit alleges, Carmine said “people didn’t like Lincoln because he was a (N-word) lover.”
He also is alleged to have said about Brown, “the guy was a thug and he got what he deserved.”
Amazingly enough, the lawsuit was filed March 18, by a girl, identified only as Maggie B., who started in Carmine’s eighth-grade honors history class in Jan. 12. That means the case went from classroom to courthouse in barely two months.
Carmine was removed from the classroom after the lawsuit was filed. It claims he was violating Maggie B’s civil rights.
But Paul Revere parents and students who’ve been in Carmine’s class longer than it takes to get a seat warm are demonstrating and petitioning on the teacher’s behalf. His comments, they say, are being taken out of context.
“The students were talking about Abe Lincoln and the n-word,” one parent told the Times. “The n-word was spoken in class. They talked about how racism developed. He didn’t use the word against anyone in class. He was covering material in the syllabus for a U.S. history course.”
She said she’d spoken to other parents who agreed.
Also, a petition page launched to support Carmine has drawn almost 800 signatures, with many comments defending his teaching method.
Mr. Carnine said that stereotypes were wrong, but sadly they are still in our world today. He was discussing these stereotypes with us in order to help us understand history and how different races were treated and sometimes still are. He said that SOME PEOPLE think that black people are not smart and only good at sports, and that Jewish people are known for being very wealthy. He taught us that these stereotypes are wrong and should not be used, but there are still many people in America who believe these stereotypes.
And here’s what he said about Michael Brown.
Mr. Carnine said that the man was a “t–g”, but he absolutely did NOT deserve to be harassed like he was. He also mentioned that it was not fair to have an all-white police squad on the job, because there was bound to be racism, even though the amount of racist people has noticeably decreased and our society has overall evened out.
In other words, Carmine sounds like exactly the kind of teacher who belongs in front of an honors history class, engaging students’ minds with knowledge about his subject – without being afraid of the subject’s dark sides.
And for that, a civil rights activist family is suing on behalf of a girl who spent a bare two months in the man’s company.
And if there’s a lawsuit, there’s the smell of money. Will Jesse and Al be far behind?
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