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Texas 8th Grade School Assignment Depicts Police As KKK Members

Wylie, TX – An eight-grade social studies assignment depicted police as slave owners and members of the KKK in a series of cartoons.

The assignment was given to students at Cooper Junior High in Wylie, according to KXAN.

The assignment had a series of of five cartoon images over centuries of time in which a black man is on his stomach with his hands restrained.

In each cartoon, the black man is in the process of saying, “I can’t breathe” while a white person has a knee on their neck.

The first cartoon has a Christopher Columbus-era explorer with a knee on the black man’s neck and the second cartoon has what appears to be a plantation owner.

The third cartoon has a KKK member.

The last two cartoons are of police officers.

The first police officer appears to be a Jim Crow-era law enforcement officer with a “WHITE ONLY” sign behind him.

The last cartoon appears to depict George Floyd and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

CNN reported that the instructions stated the assignment would have a discussion about the First Amendment, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and the right to peaceably protest.

Joe Gamaldi, the vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, sent a letter Aug. 19 to Wylie Independent School District. He also posted an image of the cartoon on Twitter.

“I cannot begin to tell you how abhorrent and disturbing this comparison is, but what is more disturbing is that no adult within your school thought better before sending this assignment to children,” Gamaldi wrote in the letter, according to KXAN.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the teacher should be fired in a tweet.

“A teacher in a Texas public school comparing police officers to the KKK is beyond unacceptable,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “It’s the opposite of what must be taught. The teacher should be fired. I’m asking the Texas Education Agency to investigate and take action.”

Wylie ISD issued a statement after pulling the assignment, saying: “We are sorry for any hurt that may have been caused through this lesson. The assignment has been removed, and students will not be expected to complete it.”

The Wylie Independent School District would not identify the teacher and said that was due to privacy laws, according to KXAN. The school district said the assignment was not part of the district’s curriculum resources.

KXAN reported that the school district released a statement that said, “We are sorry for any hurt that may have been caused through this lesson. The assignment has been removed, and students will not be expected to complete it.”

Written by
Tom Gantert

Tom Gantert graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Tom started in the newspaper business in 1983. He has worked at the Jackson Citizen Patriot (Michigan), Lansing State Journal (Michigan), Ann Arbor News (Michigan), Vineland Daily-Journal (Michigan), North Hills News Record (Pennsylvania) and USA Today (Virginia). He is also currently the managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential, a daily news site of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Tom is the father of a Michigan State Police trooper.

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Written by Tom Gantert

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