Hamilton County, TN – Public school teachers from the Hamilton County’s 12 lowest-performing schools were given training on white privilege and told that only white people can be racist.
"This is what Hamilton County employees and teachers have to sit through. This is called professional development. The liberal left is running the systems that educate children," Patrick Hampton, a member of a local conservative group called Hamilton Flourishing, posted to Facebook with pictures of the slide presentation, The Chattanoogan reported.
Former professional football player Robert Jackson gave a presentation to the teachers at Bayside Baptist Church on Aug. 2 that was billed by the school district as a seminar on “how adverse childhood experiences can impact behavior in the classroom and methods to have effective classroom management,” the Tennessee Star reported.
Jackson’s presentation included slides titles “white privilege” and “racism” and imparted the following wisdom to the county’s teachers:
“People of color cannot be racist because they lack the institutional power to adversely affect white lives.”
“Even if minorities sometimes complain about whites, such complaints serve as coping mechanisms to withstand racism rather than actual anti-white bias.”
“Even when minorities express or practice prejudice against whites they are not racists.”
“White privilege is both a legacy and a cause of racism.”
“White privilege exists because of historic, enduring racism and biases.”
Parents and school board members were furious when the content of the school district’s third Urban Education Institute became public, WRCB reported.
"It really hurts my heart that we have gone down this road," school board member Rhonda Thurman said. "The teachers deserve better than this."
Thurman said the whole mess made her feel emotional.
"I'm very angry that we are pitting races against each other," she told WRCB. "We are supposed to judge people by the content of their character not the color of their skin, and that is exactly what is happening here.”
As for the assertion that only white people can be racist, Thurman disagreed.
"That is just wrong. It's wrong on every level and you can't make it right," the school board member said.
Hamilton County Schools Spokesman Tim Hensley said that the slides from the presentation were taken out of context, WRCB reported.
“Hamilton County Schools regrets that there have been misinterpretations of a presentation today to Opportunity Zone Learning Community teachers,” the school district said in a statement posted to its official Facebook page.
“The slides are being misrepresented as a presentation on white privilege,” the district claimed in the statement. “For the slides in question, the speaker was reviewing terms that can impact perception and definitions attached to the terms when the slides were used. White Privilege was one of several terms on slides during the short part of the presentation.”
“The district will put additional safeguards in place for external presenters to ensure there is less potential of misinterpretation of the content shared in the future,” the statement said, and then offered happy quotes from seminar attendees.
Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd said that the school superintendent had some explaining to do for the county commissioners, WRCB reported.
"Superintendent should be present in front of the Commissioners next Wednesday morning to explain this to us in person,” Boyd tweeted. “No excuses. I will be anxiously waiting for Dr Johnson’s public explanation."