A seventh-grade teacher at Bangor’s James F. Doughty College became the target of on-line vitriol more than the vacation weekend soon after a parent shared a video lesson she delivered about racial privilege and identity to a pro-Trump Facebook group.
The incident showed the polarized reaction that is probable as Bangor teachers get started delivering diversity and equity education to students this college year as 1 of a quantity of actions the college program promised to address racism in the city’s schools.
The parent’s sharing of the video to the Facebook group — a violation of college division policy — and the “hateful comments and vitriol targeted at the teacher have unsettled numerous,” Superintendent Betsy Webb stated Monday in an e mail to parents. She known as for “support and kindness” as the city’s teachers provide the new education and get started a college year in the course of which they’re teaching each on-line and in particular person.
“Educators should know that they will not be subjected to this variety of therapy and that they will not be recorded and posted to social media,” Webb stated. “Let’s all commit to speak with 1 an additional and to choose up the telephone if you have issues.”
Final week, parent Bill Kimball recorded component of the teacher’s lesson as she discussed race- and gender-primarily based privilege and posted it to a Facebook web page for Maine Trump supporters, calling it “unbelievable.”
In the shared video clip, the teacher talked to students about how race and gender shape their identities and their therapy in society. As a white lady, the teacher explained, she does not face racial discrimination but has faced sexism.
“The truth that my race is white is component of my privileged identity,” she stated. “Race is not anything that gets in the way of me receiving a job or puts me in danger, whereas my gender getting female is anything I have to feel about and could be 1 of my additional targeted identities.”
Ahead of Kimball removed it from the pro-Trump Facebook web page, the video had been shared about 200 occasions and many commenters had known as for the teacher to be fired.
More than the weekend, a quantity of Bangor parents wrote to the Bangor College Committee expressing their help for the teacher and for educating students about race and privilege, with some sharing their messages on social media.
Webb did not respond to queries Tuesday about the incident and comments the college division received in response. Attempts to attain the teacher via the Doughty College have been unsuccessful.
Kimball didn’t respond to requests for comment. Even so, his wife, Libby Kimball, posted a statement about the sharing of the video to the Facebook web page of her Bangor small business, Cake Mama. That web page, like the statement, has due to the fact been removed or produced private.
“My husband and I have been upset about what we believed was an inappropriate assignment in our daughter’s class. We stand by our beliefs about our children’s education,” Libby Kimball stated. “We did not intend to trigger this teacher any grief, and we apologize for any issues that the social media post has made.”
Bill Kimball also posted in the pro-Trump group that the “angry woke mob” was attacking his wife’s small business and asked for help.
The Bangor College Division this summer season hired the neighborhood organization Racial Equity and Justice to deliver education on racial equity and diversity for employees. The education followed the Bangor Everyday News’ June publication of a story about 5 Black students who shared their experiences of racism and discrimination at Bangor Higher College, and it was 1 of a quantity of measures the college division outlined in response.
“You have a location exactly where persons of colour have been routinely reporting a climate exactly where racism was not actually addressed,” stated David Patrick of Racial Equity and Justice. “And now persons are concerned that they’re taking action to address it.”
Parents and students who spoke with the BDN praised the teacher for getting welcoming to all students.
Isaac Renshaw-Sirimoglu, a Bangor Higher College sophomore who had the teacher when he was in seventh grade, stated she produced certain he felt welcome in her class as the only Black student.
“As a white lady raising a Black son, I’ve observed how the globe treats my son differently than how the globe treats me. I’ve had incredibly difficult conversations with him about what he can and can not do in society,” Jodi Renshaw, Isaac’s mom, stated. “So if I have to clarify that to him, then I feel it is totally crucial that white children get explained the distinction in privilege so they can aid adjust it.”
A different Bangor parent, Kait Moriarty, reached out to Kimball on Saturday and had an exchange with him about the video. She also wrote to the college committee in help of the teacher and her lesson.
“It’s one hundred % anything that every single youngster need to be understanding, and she was not preaching. She was opening up a secure location for conversation,” stated Moriarty, whose daughter is in third grade. “She did a wonderful job.”