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Students Protest Firing of Arkansas Teacher Who Called Lawmakers Out Over 1619 Project Curriculum

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tags: Arkansas, teaching history, public schools, 1619 Project



A Rogers, Arkansas, educator has been fired for committing the egregious offense of...calling out Republicans from his state for being the fragile white nationalists that they absolutely are. Specifically, the now-former teacher from the Arkansas Arts Academy was terminated for sending a justifiably angry email to state lawmakers who have proposed a bill barring funding for any school that includes Nikole Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer-Prize winning collection The 1619 Project in its curriculum. On Friday, students from the school gathered in protest of the teacher’s firing.

CBS affiliate 5 News reports that Josh Depner, who was a history/social science teacher at the Academy, wrote a letter to Arkansas officials who support House bills HB 1218 and HB 1231.

Here’s what Depner’s email read as reported by 5 News:

Dear Fascist White Supremacists,

I teach U.S. History. Within my curriculum, we address marginalized groups within American Society. Your recent bill is an appalling attempt to FURTHER whitewash history. It is absolutely nothing less than an attempt to codify white supremacy in Arkansas schools. Stay the f*** out of my curriculum. You want a say in what is taught? Get your f***** teaching license and come teach. Otherwise, f*** off. None of you have any f****** business dictating my curriculum, or even THINKING about doing so. I WILL continue to teach about marginalized groups regardless of the outcome of your cute little Fascism project, though I was happy to hear it has no chance of passing. Speaking of no chance, I can’t wait to contribute to your opponent when you are up for re-election. If you are running unopposed, maybe I’ll even primary you. I am a school teacher, after all, not a money-grubbing, small-time government crook.

Teaching about diversity and social conflict between groups does not promote division. It reckons with it. It is absolutely fundamental to drawing meaning out of a social studies class. If you were f****** stupid enough to write this bill, be sure to send your own children, grandchildren, etc. to the b******* backwoods private schools that teach creation science instead of evolution.

Stick to politics. Stay out of education.

Daaaayumn, son!

Depner was right, of course. The 1619 Project is every bit as much relevant history as the Caucasian-friendly husk of historical information that’s currently taught in schools. For Black people especially, it’s much more relevant as it is history taught through a lens of Blackness—and that’s actually the real problem for Republicans and conservative historians whether they’re willing to admit it or not.

Read entire article at The Root

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