Social media users are calling for a Virginia high school teacher to be fired after a May video resurfaced showing the teacher saying that making children behave in class is akin to “white supremacy.”
What are the details?
According to the New York Post, Josh Thompson — an English teacher at Blacksburg High School in Blacksburg, Virginia — raised eyebrows and ruffled feathers after a since-deleted TikTok video of him from May began making rounds on the internet this week.
In the video, Thompson blasted the district’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program — which is used to help reduce disruptive behaviors in the classroom — by saying that the notion is the very “definition of white supremacy.”
Calling the techniques “white supremacy with a hug,” Thompson said, “It’s things like making sure that you’re following directions, and making sure that you’re sitting quietly, and you are in your seat — and all these things that come from white culture.”
He continued, “The idea of just sitting quiet and being told stuff and taking things in in a passive stance, is not a thing that’s in many cultures. So if we’re positively enforcing these behaviors, we are by extension positively enforcing elements of white culture.”
Such practices keep “whiteness at the center — which is the definition of ‘white supremacy,'” he added.
The Post reported that as of Wednesday morning, Thompson’s social presence appears to have been set to private.
What did people say in response?
According to the outlet, conservative author Brigitte Gabriel shared the clip, which she captioned, “FIRE this teacher.”
Others, the Post noted, said that Thompson was the “perfect poster boy for woke,” while another another social media user added, “So you’re telling me when I was in school and not listening, I was fighting racism? Wait until my mom hears this!”
One user, who identified herself as a black school teacher, pointed out that Thompson’s remarks were divisive to say the least.
She wrote, “I’m a black teacher. Any notion that behaving and following directions are inherently white traits disgusts me. It highlights the bigotry of low expectations that permeates the Education system. Black and brown students are capable and should not be held to separate standards.”
Another user chimed in, “Implying minorities can’t be held to the same standard as the majority because of their color is racism.”
“Assuming that only the white culture shares the value of being polite and respectful is blatant racism,” one user insisted. “Besides, this behavior while learning is way more prevalent in Asian countries than in Occidental ones.”
Yet another user asked, “Has this guy actually been in classrooms in Africa, India, Latin America, etc? I have. If anything, we are way more lax in enforcing classroom behavioral issues than other cultures. The norm in most cultures is still ‘sit quietly and listen.'”
Has the district spoken out?
A spokesperson for the Montgomery County School District told Fox News that while it is certainly “proud” of its PBIS program, it also supports Thompson’s right to freely speak on the topic.
“A teacher is entitled to their personal belief regarding any division program,” the statement read, noting that “the statements made by this teacher do not reflect our PBIS program or the behavioral expectations that we have of students in our schools.”
The statement added, “MCPS has used PBIS in our schools for eight years. We are proud of our PBIS work. This work helps create a standard for social-emotional learning and behavior expectations in the school building.”