Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teacher: Coloring Assignment Used before; Depiction of Lynching Given to Second-Graders for Black History Month

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teacher: Coloring Assignment Used before; Depiction of Lynching Given to Second-Graders for Black History Month

Article excerpt

Byline: Khristopher J. Brooks

An Atlantic Beach Elementary School teacher who used depictions of minstrel caricatures of African-Americans, blackface and a lynching for a second-grade coloring assignment last month said she has used the material for the past three years.

On Monday, Duval County Public Schools officials released documents pertaining to their investigation of the incident at the school last month. In the documents, Teresa Flores said she used the Black History Month assignment before and it didn't raise any personal concerns to her.

The investigation also found that Flores believes the coloring assignment was the "best way to teach the lesson."

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti has said Flores showed a lapse in judgment when she gave out the assignment and that the assignment wasn't an appropriate activity for second-graders.

At the School Board meeting April 2, Vitti will recommend suspending Flores without pay for five days. With the board's approval, he would also put a letter of reprimand in principal Kimberly Wright's file because of the incident.

Flores does not have prior disciplinary actions on her personnel file. However, her 2012 evaluation labels her as "developing/needs improvement" in the area of "Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport," the documents show.

In the investigation documents, Flores said teachers like her receive no direction from the school district on what to use to teach students about Black History Month. Teachers have to find their own materials for those lessons and there's no collaboration between teachers on what is the best material to use, Flores said. …

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