Lesson Has Schoolkids Comparing Martin Luther King to Cop Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal

Joshua Rhett Miller, Fox News, April 14, 2014

A lesson plan asking students to draw parallels between late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is an “absolute disgrace,” the widow of the fallen officer told FoxNews.com.

Maureen Faulkner, whose husband Daniel was gunned down in Philadelphia on Dec. 9, 1981, said the latest effort to glorify Abu-Jamal’s past using a lesson plan posted on the Oakland (Calif.) Unified School District’s website is akin to advocating violence to young students.

“It’s a travesty,” Faulkner told FoxNews.com by phone early Thursday. “You’re going to teach children about a man who murdered a police officer? That’s not a good lesson to be teaching children. He was a radical, a militant. My question is: Are our tax dollars paying for this?”

The lesson plan, which was authored by teacher Craig Gordon for 11th-graders within the 37,000-student district, suggests to “critically examine a possible parallel” between King and “someone else many believe is currently targeted by the U.S. government, Mumia Abu-Jamal.”

It also asks students to consider the following statement: “The media, prison system and law enforcement organizations have censored Mumia Abu-Jamal. On one hand, there have been occasional stories in print and broadcast media about Mumia Abu-Jamal. On the other, despite the widespread support for Abu-Jamal that has made his case the most renown and controversial of death penalty cases in the world today, these stories are extremely rare and always refer to him as a ‘convicted cop-killer.’”

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Faulkner noted that Abu-Jamal–a former Black Panther who has garnered worldwide support by some who believe he was victimized by a biased judicial system–will turn 60 later this month while imprisoned in Pennsylvania. {snip}

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Troy Flint, director of public relations for the Oakland Unified School District, said the lesson plan is no longer part of the district’s curriculum and was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

“The fact that a website documenting Urban Dreams remains accessible is an oversight related to technology management; it does not speak to current instructional practice in OUSD,” Flint wrote FoxNews.com in an e-mail. “To avoid any confusion in the future, we will conduct an inventory of the numerous websites created to support learning districtwide to ensure they conform with our present academic philosophy and do not inadvertently misrepresent Oakland schools.”

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In 2011, Philadelphia’s district attorney announced that prosecutors would no longer pursue the death penalty against Abu-Jamal. Instead, he will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing Faulkner, a 25-year-old patrolman who scuffled with Abu-Jamal’s brother during an early morning traffic stop. Abu-Jamal, whose real name is Wesley Cook, was wounded by a round from Faulkner’s gun and a .38-caliber revolver registered to Abu-Jamal was found at the scene with five spent shell casings, according to trial testimony.

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Most recently, Abu-Jamal appeared in national headlines in February when his link to President Obama’s nominee for a top Justice Department post, Debo Adegbile, was revealed. Adegbile faced criticism for his role in getting Abu-Jamal’s death sentence overturned during his time as acting director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Adebile’s confirmation was blocked in early March.

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