Teacher Faces Calls to Be Fired for Claiming on Video That Telling Kids to Sit Still Is ‘White Supremacy’
Brian Stieglitz, Daily Mail, September 14, 2021
A Virginia high school teacher has sparked outrage on social media after posting a TikTok video in which he argues that expecting students to behave, follow directions and sit quietly is ‘the definition of white supremacy.’
Josh Thompson, an English teacher at Blacksburg High School in Montgomery County, specifically referred to his district’s use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a model educators use to keep students focused and respectful in school.
It is not clear how parents or students at the school are reacting to Thompson’s video or if they’ve seen it, but many Twitter users are asking that the district address it and some have even demanded that he be fired.
In the since-deleted video, which was originally posted in May, Thompson says, ‘I stated that PBIS is white supremacy with a hug and a lot of y’all wanted to know more about that . . . so if PBIS concerns itself with positive behaviors, we have to ask ourselves, “Okay well what are those positive behaviors?” And it’s things like making sure that you’re following directions, and making sure that you’re sitting quietly, and you are in your seat and all these things that come from white culture.’
He adds, ‘The idea of just sitting quiet and being told stuff and taking things in, in a passive stance, is not a thing that’s in many cultures. So if we’re positively enforcing these behaviors, we are by extension positively enforcing elements of white culture. Which therefore keeps whiteness at the center, which is the definition of white supremacy.’
Thompson’s TikTok and Twitter accounts have since been set to private and the original TikTok has been taken down, but not before it was been shared on the Twitter page ‘Libs of TikTok’ where it collected 192,100 views.
The satirical account, whose bio reads ‘All things insane & hypocritical,’ mockingly shares various TikTok videos from left-leaning users. It posted two of Thompson’s other TikTok clips, which have since received 23,500 and 18,200 views.
The Montgomery County School District said that they support Thompson’s right to free speech, but asserted that his views are not their own and defended their use of PBIS.
District officials told Fox News that, “A teacher is entitled to their personal belief regarding any division program. The statements made by this teacher do not reflect our PBIS program or the behavioral expectations that we have of students in our schools.”
The district added that it ‘has used PBIS in our schools for eight years. We are proud of our PBIS work. This work helps create a standard for social-emotional learning and behavior expectations in the school building.’
In another video of Thompson shared by Libs of TikTok, which yielded 23,500 views, he asserts that police brutality is ‘directly connected’ to education.
He said, ‘I want to remind educators that instances of police brutality and the murders of black and brown people by police officers is directly connected to the work that we do Because if any of those people had been white, chances are they wouldn’t have been murdered. Chances are they wouldn’t have been brutalized. And if you don’t believe me, just take a look at all the instances of white people, especially white men, who oftentimes are brandishing weapons and who were taken into custody alive.’
He adds, ‘But much of this is wrapped up in implicit bias and we have incredible power to changes peoples’ biases when they’re young. We have to talk about these issues in school because every bit of it impacts our work. The ways in which we teach, the ways we interact with students, the practices and policies we have, the way in which they’re implemented. There’s so much. And many of us our talking about this, many of us are advocating for these changes, but not enough of us are.’