He was teaching an advisory class at Bohls Middle School in Pflugerville, Tex., a suburb of Austin. He is no longer employed by the Pflugerville Independent School District, which is now “actively looking for a replacement,” said Douglas Killian, the superintendent.
It was not immediately clear whether that meant the teacher had been fired or he had quit. The Dallas Morning News reported that he had resigned.
A debate over how to talk about racial inequality has roiled many U.S. schools. In Texas last year, a Black high school principal faced criticism from parents who accused him of promoting critical race theory, an academic framework for examining systemic racism that Republicans have used as a catchall label for discussion of race in classrooms. In Tennessee, a White teacher was fired for asserting that “White privilege” is “a fact.” In Oklahoma, a teacher quit to protest the state’s ban on books that it says lead students to “feel discomfort, guilt” or psychological distress because of their race or gender. In more than a dozen states, new rules now govern how race can be taught in schools.
The Pflugerville Independent School District’s student population is almost half Hispanic, according to figures compiled by the Texas Tribune. Less than a quarter of its roughly 25,000 students are White, and about 15 percent are Black.
The teacher had been put on administrative leave earlier, according to local reports.
“We want to reiterate that this conversation does not align with our core beliefs and is not a reflection of our district or our culture at Bohls Middle School,” Killian said.
The teacher’s comments were “inappropriate, inaccurate, and unacceptable; and this type of interaction will not be tolerated,” he added.
The Pflugerville school district and its superintendent could not be immediately reached for further comment late Monday.
In the video, the teacher appeared to be talking to a group that included Black students. The students told him that they had lost respect for him after hearing his remarks. The teacher replied that they should have more respect because he was being honest. “No, not at all,” one student said in response.
The district’s administrators were made aware of the remarks Friday, Killian said. The district said it encourages students to “be self-advocates and let an adult know when something is wrong, as they did in this situation.”