A Minnesota middle school teacher could lose her job over comments posted to Facebook about rioters looting businesses in the name of George Floyd.
The post from Forestview Middle School visual arts teacher Kara Hall did not reference Floyd, a black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police, but rather the criminals taking advantage of Black Lives Matter protests to pillage cities across the country.
The Duluth News Tribune published Hall’s posts, which have since been removed.
“Are you seeing what the blacks people are doing during this ‘protest?’” Hall wrote in one message.
“They are destroying properties and businesses,” another read. “And taking everything they can while laughing. If you owned a business would you be ok with them destroying everything you worked for? Doubt it.”
Hall’s comments came in response to a post by a former lakes resident who detailed their experience at the Black Lives Matter protests, according to the News Tribune.
“Maybe you should be out there telling them to stop burning businesses if they are such good people? I know all I see are scary awful blacks people robbing businesses that don’t deserve this,” Hall wrote. “They are making it worse for themselves.”
Hall wrote that she hopes for law and order.
“The creepy, destructive, violent blacks we are all across America watching raid and ruin businesses across America need to be put in jail! This is no longer a protest. I watch black guys carry out cases of whiskey while they smile and laugh — that’s not ok and that’s not protesting — that’s opportunistic, theft anc (sic) illegal,” she wrote.
The comments, made over the weekend, ignited a firestorm online after a parent copied the posts and asked for feedback. By Sunday night many had contacted the district about the “racist” rant, including two former students who penned an open letter calling for Hall’s termination, LPTV reports.
“We ask that Ms. Hall is held accountable for her failure to represent ISD 181’s values and that she is a reasonable threat to violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act within the public school system,” the letter read. “We would implore that you consider termination given the potential for future impact on Black, Indigenous, and students of color within ISD 181. Personal bias can bleed into professional bias, thus creating a toxic and discriminatory education experience, which is protected against by the MHRA.”
District officials issued a prepared statement that promised an investigation, but have otherwise refused to discuss the situation.
“While the District supports and respects free speech, the social media posts in question contain inaccurate, disrespectful, and divisive statements about the race of individuals who have engaged in looting and other destructive conduct in the Twin Cities,” the statement read.
“The overall tenor and content of the posts is contrary to the basic educational mission of the District and is inconsistent with the District’s efforts to create a welcoming and supportive environment for students of all backgrounds.”
The two former students who penned the open letter also started a Change.org petition for Hall’s termination that’s so far amassed nearly 4,000 signatures of support.
The petition makes three demands.
- Removing Kara Hall from her position and to ensure that the ISD 181 Handbook is clear and transparent in its code of conduct that racist rhetoric by educators is not tolerated.
- Direct protections against discrimination that result in a fitting punishment, such as employee termination, written clearly and irrevocably into the ISD 181 employee handbook, and that this handbook be made publicly transparent.
3.We also ask that there be transparent representation through a democratically elected oversight board for internal and external reports of racial discrimination by ISD 181 employees, or any other form of illegal discrimination as outlined in the Minnesota Human Rights Act.