*A Dallas elementary school teacher is on leave after sending the mother of one of her Black students a photo of the teacher’s foot on the child’s neck.
The incident occurred at a Greenville ISD elementary school. After the teacher texted the “stage photo” as a joke to the 10-year-old’s mother, the highly inappropriate photo surfaced on Facebook, prompting the school district to launch an investigation.
The photo shows the foot of a Lamar Elementary school teacher on the neck of a Black student who’s lying on the floor. The photo was taken Tuesday, the day that Derek Chauvin was convicted on all charges of killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes until he died.
The boy’s mother said that the photo was a “joke” about a discussion over a permission slip. The teacher apparently told the student to return an assignment or she would put a foot on his neck if he didn’t.
“I didn’t think anything of it. It was ‘ha, ha,’ and I moved on,” the mother, who asked to remain anonymous, told NBC5. “The picture then began to bother me a little bit, showed it and my family got really upset about it.”
The mother claimed the teacher said: “Make sure you bring this paper back or I’m going to get on to you, and your mama told me to get on to you if I need to.” The teacher told her son, “I’m going to put my foot on your neck.” She said her son laughed and said, “I bet you won’t.”
When another student reportedly encouraged the boy to lay on the ground, “that’s when I guess she put her foot on there,” the mother told NBC5.
District superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins finds the photo disgusting.
“Regardless of what was behind it, it is an extremely inappropriate photo and an extremely inappropriate action,” says Dr. Liggins, who says the student is doing well emotionally following the incident.
The district immediately placed the teacher on administrative leave after becoming aware of the photo.
“This is an isolated incident, and the Greenville ISD is committed to ensuring that all of our students are treated with the utmost respect and dignity,” says Dr. Liggins. “We live in an inclusive community that celebrates diversity, and so this is not reflective of our community and definitely not reflective of the values that we hold here in Greenville ISD as a school district.”
Dr. Liggins sent the following letter to parents and staff following the incident:
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.