HOUSTON – Officials with the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District are investigating a middle school teacher who is accused of teaching a racist lesson plan about slavery and the Civil War. That lesson has left an 8th grader hurt and embarrassed, and community leaders demanding the teacher be let go.
Tori Ards describes her daughter as a gifted and talented student-athlete who is soaring academically. The girl, who attends Kahla Middle School, was in a ninth-grade History class when she became an involuntary part of the day’s instruction.
“She is in advanced courses. She is in the eighth grade but taking ninth-grade courses,” Ards explained.
According to Ards, the teacher was discussing a part of history that has already left generations of families scarred, and now, her daughter is among the damaged.
Ards said she received a call from the assistant principal letting her know that her daughter was placed in an uncomfortable situation.
“She [the asst. principal] explained it to me as it was explained to her and then she put my daughter on the phone to let me know, in her own words, that the teacher had used her as an example of ‘a fugitive slave,’” Ards said.
According to Ards, the teacher was giving her interpretation of the Civil War and slave trade, when she re-enacted a scene, using her daughter, who was the only African American student in the class, and explained that she could have had her captured and sold in an auction.
The teacher allegedly brought Ards’ daughter in front of the class and said, “I could snatch her and take her to the South and sell her during slavery!”
“This woman is crazy as hell!” Quanell X, community activist, said. “No one should have that kind of teacher in the classroom because they are already arguing in Texas about Critical Race Theory being taught in schools. Well if we leave that teacher in school to teach our young beautiful Black and Brown children, she would teach them that slavery was a choice. We should never have a wolf like this in sheep’s clothing teaching our babies!”
This was reportedly not the first controversial statement the teacher made. Ards said, a few days before, her daughter called her during her lunch period to say the teacher told them her theories about the Confederate flag. The teacher allegedly said the history books got it wrong and the flag had “nothing to do with slavery.”
She reportedly told the students that the Confederate flag was a ‘good flag’ and was only about the states’ rights. That incident was also reported to school administrators.
“They promised to investigate and do something about it, but their lack of concern about this serious issue enabled that teacher and emboldened her to go even further to move now to a slave auction,” Quanell X said.
The minister said the teacher wanted to “re-write history” and paint the Confederate flag as a symbol that the children should not be ashamed of but proud of, in front of the only Black student in the class.
“She went on to lie about that rusty, dirty, no good, dirty, low-down Confederate flag. That is not a flag that any human being would be proud of, and that flag did stand for slavery. That flag did fight for slavery, and that flag fought to make sure slavery and human indentured servitude was never ended and thank God that flag lost.”
Those standing in solidarity with the family said the teacher must never be allowed to instruct vulnerable students.
“This is a prime example of an educational assassin that is implanted in the classroom,” said Dr. Candice Matthews, national minister of politics for the New Black Panther Nation. “This is what we call an agent of white supremacy as an educator that is there to disenfranchise our children, to try to break our children’s spirits and also to put them in a compromising situation that can damage them mentally.”
Matthews continued: “When you are bringing a child in front of a classroom, and they are the only African American kid in that class, you are not only ostracizing them; you embarrass them, and you have just completely damaged their mental capacity. The child could be bullied because of the color of their skin and that is exactly what this teacher did. This teacher just basically bullied this child.”
Ards agreed, feeling the “history lesson” had detrimental effects on her child.
“No student present should have been used as an example to teach any part of this lesson. It was uncalled for, it was unnecessary, it was damaging and hurtful,” she said.
The community leaders are calling for swift and immediate action.
“We are demanding that teacher be removed - not suspended - removed and she should never be allowed to teach anybody’s children regardless of the race of the student body,” Quanell X said.
KPRC 2 reached out to Cy-Fair ISD for a statement. They forwarded us a letter that was sent from the principal of the school to parents, notifying them of the situation. The letter stated:
“I wanted you to know that we have been made aware of allegations involving a staff member and improper role playing during a social studies lesson. We are thoroughly investigating these allegations, and the staff member will not be on campus prior to the outcome of the investigation. We look forward to a swift resolution to this matter and remain committed to providing a respectful, safe and supportive learning environment for our students.”