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February 14, 2019

Teacher tells kids Martin Luther King Jr killed himself and that real Christians support Trump

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A substitute teacher in Wake County has resigned to her position after students revealed she told them that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. committed suicide, that real Christians support Trump, and singled out black kids for their clothes, stating that their attires marked them for prison.

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The incident took place at Rand Road Elementary School in Garner, where a substitute teacher that was supposed to teach a music class got upset with students for not listening to her instructions and started to rant about her views on Christianity, president Donald Trump, and Martin Luther King Jr.

According to Billy Byrd’s son, Nathan, the woman later identified as Elizabeth Temple, told the class of mostly black kids under the age of 10, that they weren’t real Christians if they didn’t support President Donald Trump, and that Dr. King had committed suicide and his assassination was a fabrication.

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King was shot to death as he stood on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel on April 4, 1968.

“We had to draw the line there,” Nathan told the News & Observer. “All the things she was telling us were completely wrong. We had to tell her, ‘Nothing you’re saying is making any sense.’”

After Nathan and other kids refused the teacher’s claims, the woman allegedly grew even more frustrated, telling the kids that they were marked for prison because of their attire. Nathan was donning athletic clothes that he had worn the night before to play basketball.

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Billy Byrd was livid after hearing what the teacher told his son. “For her to assassinate his character because of what he was wearing is sickening,” he said.

The angered father complained to the school’s principal, Rhonda Jones, who informed him other parents had issued the same complaint. Temple allegedly resigned to her position a few days later.

After hearing about the incident, the school district froze Temple’s employment status, meaning, she won’t be able to teach on any other school in Wake County.

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“What book is she reading and obviously it’s not the right one, and for her to say this to a classroom full of kids, giving them that misinformed information is just bogus,” Billy Byrd told local station WTVD. “We can’t afford to have anybody in the school system that is teaching this damaging rhetoric to any kid ― white or black.”

Byrd also shared the story on a Facebook that has gone viral, saying that instead of teaching music, Temple “constructed her own lesson plan that glorified President Trump and his love for God, country and all Americans.”

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He added:

“She told my son and his fellow male peers of color that their clothing marked them for PRISON.....YES, PRISON! To wear athletic apparel while being BLACK is obviously a MARK for long term imprisonment these days by racist radicals portraying to be godly and upright conservative Christians.”

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On a statement provided to HuffPost, Timothy Simmons, the chief of communications for the Wake County Public School System, said:

“The school became aware of the students’ concerns Friday afternoon as classes were ending. The principal and staff talked with as many students as possible before the day ended. Based on those conversations, the substitute teacher was contacted over the weekend and immediately resigned. She is no longer eligible to teach in the district.”

Billy said he’s thankful his son was able to stand up by himself and face the teacher.

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On another similar incident, a Springfield, Missouri school and the entire district has banned a substitute teacher after he allegedly made racist and threatening comments to two black middle school students last January.

The incident took place at Hickory Hills Elementary and Middle School. 

Jean Hawkins, the mother of a 14-year-old student, said her son and his classmate walked into their Wednesday class hoping to meet their new male substitute teacher. But the man didn't have kind words for the students:

"The teacher tells them, 'I was told to shoot you black boys. You black boys are nothing but trouble.' He said, 'I've been told to shoot you.’”

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Hawkins said her son was not sure how to react to the teacher’s words. "He just looked at him [the teacher], and he couldn't believe what he was saying. He was like ‘Wow,’” she said. "He didn't know if he should run."

Chief communications officer for Springfield Public Schools, Stephen Hall, addressed the incident, insisting that the alleged comments do not align with what the school district stands for and revealing that the man was removed from the list of eligible SPS substitutes.

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