PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some Philadelphia teachers are urging their colleagues to plan a week of lessons on the Black Lives Matter movement.
It’s an effort being promoted by the Caucus of Working Educators — a faction of the teachers union. They want teachers on the week of January 23 to wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts and buttons, and to teach about racial justice issues each day. Caucus member Amy Roat, a teacher at the Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, acknowledges that some principals may not agree.
“I would never encourage someone to be insubordinate. But I would also encourage to make an appointment with the principal and talk to them and say, ‘This is why I’m participating in this Black Lives Matter week. And this is the kind of lesson I want to teach and this is why I think it would be good for my class.”
Roat says it’s the role of a teacher to help students process current events.
“I do think Black Lives Matter is a real thing in the news, just like everything else. And I think it’s definitely not off-limits.”
She realizes there will likely be pushback to the idea, but she says this is not a political statement.
“It’s to educate children and let them understand what’s going on so they can form opinions and they can be critical thinkers.”
It’s not entirely clear how many teachers will be taking part. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is not taking a formal position on the action.
Philadelphia School District spokesman Lee Whack, in a statement, said “We support all children and their academic success. We are fully invested in the lives of all of our students and we have regular forums and avenues throughout the district for students to express themselves and learn.”
The working educators say the BLM effort is to promote discussion, not political agitation.