SC mom says high school teacher told class she would kneel during national anthem

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ROCK HILL, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)– A Rock Hill teacher is accused of bringing her political beliefs into the classroom.

“She essentially is trying to divide the class on the first day,” said parent Kerry Bishop, who was so mad, she pulled her daughter out of the class.

The law education teacher at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill allegedly told the class she plans to kneel during the national anthem during a discussion on police reform.

Bishop says she does not have a problem with kneeling, or the Black Lives Matter movement, but she wants teachers to keep their personal beliefs private.

“She felt the need to tell them that she’d be kneeling at the national anthem, school functions, things like that,” Bishop said. “Because she felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Bishop says she spoke with the teacher, who defended the comment.

“She referenced [it was] because of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor,” she said.

The deaths of Taylor and Floyd set off waves of protests in the Carolinas and across the country. Athletes are kneeling in support of Black Lives Matter. Outside South Pointe High School, BLM is painted on a rock.

Teachers, however, are told not to give their personal opinion. Instead, the Rock Hill School District’s policy instructs them to take a “scholarly” approach.

“Emotional criticism and the promotion of a cause within the classroom are inappropriate and will not be tolerated,” the district’s policy instructs teachers. “Teachers should guard against giving their personal opinions on sectarian or political questions or any other controversial issue.”

District officials met with Bishop and agreed to let her daughter take the class virtually. The district says discussing current events and controversial issues ,in an educational context, is appropriate. However, teachers cannot give their personal opinion, a district spokesperson told FOX 46.

We asked to speak with the teacher to get her side. The district responded to our request with a statement but did not address the request to talk to her.

A district statement said any disciplinary action the teacher may face is considered confidential.

“She’s leaving [classroom discussions] wide open,” said Bishop. “These discussions shouldn’t be happening in the district with a teacher who puts in her political stance.”

Bishop says she is trying to get her daughter taken out of the teacher’s next class, US government.   

Rock Hill Schools Statement

“School and district administrators have met in-person and by phone to listen to concerns from a South Pointe High School parent. The student and parent alleged controversial comments were made by a law education teacher on the first day of school during a lesson in which the teacher was sharing insights into the curriculum that the students would engage in regarding police reform.  Discussing current events is appropriate to the course and allows students an opportunity to examine controversial issues within the context of their educational experience. At all times, it is paramount for our teachers to guard against giving their personal opinions on sectarian or political questions or other issues believed to be controversial. In working with the parent, an alternative placement has been offered and accepted for the student to continue the law education course in a virtual setting. Any disciplinary action to the teacher is considered confidential.” –Mychal Frost, Rock Hill Schools spokesperson

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