Home » CPS Teachers Argue After One Hangs African American Doll in Classroom

CPS Teachers Argue After One Hangs African American Doll in Classroom

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CPS
Courtesy of Eric Allix Rogers (Flickr CC0)

Two Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers swore at each other during a heated argument on March 28, 2022. One of Whitney Young Magnet High School’s history teachers hung an African American doll by its neck from a cord in his classroom.

The white teacher reportedly found the doll in his classroom. He says he hung the doll via a projector string in front of a whiteboard so students could see it and claim the doll if it was theirs. The whole thing made a fellow Black teacher extremely uncomfortable — which is understandable due to America’s lynching history — and some heated words were exchanged between the two educators in front of students.

CPS
Courtesy of Eric Allix Rogers (Flickr CC0)

One of the students recorded the altercation and it went viral on social media. A picture of the doll began to circulate among the CPS students. The image showed an African American plush doll dressed as a football player in a blue uniform. It was dangling from its neck in front of the whiteboard.

Neither teacher could be seen in the video, however, they could be heard. One teacher said, “Stupid.” The second one replied that the first was “f…[explicit word]…in’ stupid.” They continued on with “And you’re even more stupid [indistinctable].”

Then the other CPS teacher is heard saying, “Shut up! Shut up!” Then seems to direct comment toward the students, he says, “He’s wrong.”

“You [are] wrong! I’m not going to stand up in here with you, … you [are] making me feel uncomfortable…,” the other teacher hollered.

The video recording ended as the student rushed away from the altercation.

Principal Joyce Kenner sent an email to her CPS students and families.

To: Whitney Young Community:

It has been my goal to create a community of respect and professionalism over the past 27 years as principal. We strive each day to make sure that every student, faculty and staff member feels comfortable, supported and safe. Unfortunately there was an incident in which a teacher hung a small stuffed African American football doll by a pull down string from a projector screen in their classroom. The teacher indicated he found the doll in his room and wanted the students to see if someone would claim it. A colleague approached the teacher about the doll and the conversation between the teachers became contentious. Our administrative team investigated the incident and spoke with the teachers. An official incident report has been created and filed with CPS. Additional information will be added as needed.

We sent an email to all faculty and staff responding to the incident yesterday. We met with a group of students this morning and discussed the incident in length. We gave students an opportunity to voice any concerns and recommendations they had. We plan to follow the disciplinary protocol established by Chicago Public Schools.

Before adding her name she said if anyone had any inquiries about the situation “please reach out to [me] or one of our assistant principals.”

On March 30, Chicago Teachers Union, posted on their Facebook page:

We understand the investigation at Whitney Young is ongoing, but practices that mitigate the harm of racial biases must be also be ongoing, and consistent, in our schools. And any definition of “safety” must include creating and reinforcing an environment of equity and inclusion for all students, staff and faculty of color.

Mayor Lightfoot has a responsibility to provide a safe space for every member of our school communities, which is especially important in a district that serves a student population that is 90 percent Black and Brown children.

The day after the incident, the CPS administration and Kenner met with students to speak about the altercation. It is unclear if either teacher will be facing disciplinary actions over the incident.

Many people on social media shared their disgust about the situation. One person under the Twitter handle Jaunderful commented, “Yeah, right. He could’ve easily asked, whose doll is this? The optics shows insensitivity.” Joyce Hutchens replied, “And either left it on his desk until somebody claimed it or turned it into the lost and found. That’s what teachers do. He’s full of it.”

A Twitter user named MildlyMelanatedMama commented, “Wish I could be surprised that this happened in a history department, but last year my kid was asked to do a jam board outlining “reasons why Black people were lynched.” Black kids deserve so much better than this.”

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

Fox 32 Chicago: CPS teachers get in heated feud after one hangs African American doll from cord in classroom
Chicago Sun-times: CPS teachers get in heated feud after one hangs African American doll from cord in classroom
Email: Whitney Young Community; by Joyce D. Kenner, Ed.D.

Top, Inline, and Featured Image Courtesy Eric Allix Rogers’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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