Some schools in a St. Louis area school district are instructing teachers to change the subject if the police shooting and ongoing protests in Ferguson, Mo., come up in class.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday that teachers in middle schools and high schools in the Edwardsville School District, an Illinois suburb of St. Louis about 25 miles from Ferguson, have been told to “change the subject and refocus the students” if Ferguson is brought up.
According to the Post-Dispatch, Edwardsville administrators say that teachers have made opinionated comments about Ferguson that “have caused students and parents to lash out which is not healthy in the District 7 community,” per one memo being circulated to teachers. So all discussion has been cut off.
Edwardsville superintendent Ed Hightower defended keeping opinions on Ferguson out of the classroom to the newspaper.
“We all have personal opinions about what has gone wrong, what has gone right. And we all have opinions on what should be done,” Hightower said. “We don’t need to voice those opinions or engage those opinions in the classrooms.”
The policy has already received some backlash from members of the community.
“An event of this magnitude shouldn’t be swept under the rug,” one district parent, Glenn Beckmann, told the Post-Dispatch. “I agree with everything in that letter except for the provision forbidding them from talking about it. We have hundreds of teachers in the school district and I would bet 98 percent would discuss this with students objectively.”