An Arlington, Virginia high school teacher has been relieved of his classroom duties after asking students to describe the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers back in May.
According to The Hill, the unnamed teacher from H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program had students describe his death by using a fill-in-the-blank question. “George Floyd couldn’t breathe because a police officer put his ____ George’s neck,” the question read, reports ARLnow.com. The outlet also said that the correct answer was “neon.” Shortly after the question was posted, parents called the school to complain.
On Thursday (Nov. 19), Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán released a statement saying the teacher was “relieved of classroom duties while an investigation related to this matter takes place.” Durán also said the question was a “blatant disregard for African American lives.”
“This act violates the core values of the school system and reinforces the importance of the work we have been doing, and must continue to do, to employ culturally responsive teaching practices and to combat systemic racism,” the superintendent said. “I want to assure everyone that this situation will be handled in accordance with our policies and all staff are held to the highest standards of professional behavior.”
Floyd was killed on May 25 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. His death sparked nationwide protests as people demanded an end to police brutality and systemic racism.
Chauvin, along with the other three former officers — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — will stand trial together in March. Chauvin is currently charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, while the other three former cops are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.