Screengrab of teacher zoom call
Screengrab of teacher zoom call

A teacher has been suspended after telling her students that George Floyd would “still be alive” if he complied with police.

During a Zoom class at Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, Alaska, a teacher referred to as Ms Gardner advised her students that they should comply with officers during an arrest even if they believe they are being wrongfully held.

In a 15-minute video, which has since been uploaded to YouTube by a parent, the teacher goes on to discuss the May 2020 death of Floyd and says: “If George Floyd had at the beginning when they got him out of the car and went to put him in the police car, if he had just sidled into the car and slid in there and let them put his legs in, he would be alive today. You know that’s true.”

Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted last month of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter.

The trigger for the discussion is unclear, but the clip shows Gardner saying that there has “been a lot of shootings with people of colour” but “the reason why you don’t hear about it though is because it doesn’t fit that angry white male narrative”, adding: “It’s not just crazy white men who do shootings.”

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Gardner then appears to go on to discuss the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.

“It was a terrible thing for the girl to get shot,” she said, but suggested the officer involved – Columbus, Ohio Police Officer Nicholas Reardon – did not have a choice because she was going to stab another victim and police do not “have time to choose between their gun and taser.”

“I agree that there needs to be some, I don’t want to say reform, I want to say training,” the teacher says.

She then tells the students they should comply with police officers even if they think they are being arrested unjustly.

“I’m an old white lady and if the cops came up to me and said ma’am, put your hands behind your back, you’re going to jail…I’m putting my hands behind my back,” she said.

The teacher also suggests the students would be fine in a police encounter because they are “dressed nicely” and “don’t look like thugs”.

At one point in the lesson, a parent interrupts and says: “I just disagree with the conversation in whole. I feel like this is something that, you know, like Ms. Gardner... I don’t feel like you’re really able to address with you being a white woman.”

Gardner responds by saying “that’s where you’re wrong” before the parent says: “I am a woman of colour.”

According to KUAC, Ms Gardner has now been placed on administrative leave and an investigation is due to take place.

You can watch the full video here.

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