A father is speaking out after a substitute teacher told his 10-year-old son that wearing a tracksuit to school made him look like a prison inmate and that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was not assassinated — but instead shot himself, reported WTVD-TV.
Billy Byrd said he was horrified when his son Nathan came home from school last Friday and recalled how the substitute music teacher, who he named as Elizabeth Temple, had singled out his son for wearing athletic gear, likening the clothing to “prison attire.”
“We always dress him with the best attire we can afford,” Byrd told ABC11. “For her to say that him having athletic wear or attire on was going to put him in a position to go to prison, that really bothered me the most.”
Byrd said the substitute at Rand Road Elementary School in Garner, North Carolina, was supposed to show the class a video, but when she couldn’t get the rowdy students to calm down she went on a conspiracy rant claiming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination was a “complete fabrication.”
“What book is she reading and obviously it’s not the right one, and for her to say this to a classroom full of kids, giving them that misinformed information is just bogus,” Byrd said. “We can’t afford to have anybody in the school system that is teaching this damaging rhetoric to any kid — white or black.”
But the substitute wasn’t done yet, she also gave students an “ultra-conservative” ideology of the Bible which allegedly included President Donald Trump.
“‘If you don’t go off the theology that you perceive Donald Trump to be as a Christian, that you’re some way hell bound or wrong,'” Byrd said.
“When she brought it to that level, I think that’s when I as a parent, father, and African-American say listen this is wrong,” Byrd added.
In his Facebook post detailing the incident, Byrd said the middle-aged woman “constructed her own lesson plan that glorified President Trump and his love for God, country and all Americans.”
A representative with the Wake County Public School System told ABC11 the substitute teacher’s status is “frozen” while the incident is being investigated.
Byrd said he would forgive the teacher if given the opportunity to talk to her, adding, “I don’t have no hatred towards you. However, I do feel that you should not have the ability to teach any children until you get the necessary help you need going forward.”
My daughter was in that class… she came home absolutely enraged by it. @FFRF
— Christopher “my name is not Chris” Blackmon (@ckblackm) February 11, 2019
Byrd and his wife said they are also proud of their son for handling the incident with maturity. “He liked the fact that me and my wife..we stood up for him,” Byrd said as he fought back tears in his living room.
“He had those necessary tools that he was equipped with prior to that situation taking place. So for him to be able to stand up for truth and to correct that teacher when she made that blatant lie that Dr. King committed suicide…and say ‘no that is inaccurate information, that did not happen,’ that made me feel good as a father to know that he followed my instruction. For that, I am eternally proud and grateful.”
Nathan told WRAL: “She basically targeted me. She said, ‘If y’all keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to go to jail.’ So, I stood up in front of the class and I said, ‘So, you’re basically going to predict my future that hasn’t even happened yet?‘ ”