Longtime Chicago teacher in hot water for hanging lost black doll from cord in class

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A longtime Chicago high school history teacher who’s white has been suspended for having unintentionally offended a newly hired teacher who’s black by hanging a black doll from a cord in the hope that the owner of the doll would claim it.

In an email to students and families sent Tuesday, a day after the incident, Joyce Kenner, principal of Whitney Young Magnet High School explained that the white teacher, Carl Pasowicz, had “found the doll in his room and wanted the students to see if someone would claim it,” as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

But instead, a fellow teacher — described by the Sun-Times as an “African American instructor” who’d “started more recently” — saw it and created a ruckus.

“A colleague approached the teacher about the doll and the conversation between the teachers became contentious,” Kenner reportedly wrote in her email.

(Source: Chicago station WMAQ)

Their encounter was reportedly captured in a video filmed by a student. While the video has apparently been deleted, a transcript of it has been published by the Sun-Times.

“Stupid,” one teacher (#1), presumably the black one, reportedly says in the video.

“You’re f–king stupid. And you’re even more stupid [inaudible],” the other teacher (#2), presumably the white one, replies.

“Shut up! Shut up!” the first teacher (#1) says.

“He’s wrong!” the first teacher (#1) then reportedly says to the students.

“You’re wrong! I’m not going to stand up in here with you. … You’re making me feel uncomfortable,” the second teacher (#2) replies.

The video then ends.

The video reportedly went viral first among outraged students and then later among outraged parents like the mother seen below:

I have been furious all day. My daughter Kori’s HISTORY teacher at Whitney Young hung this in his classroom on Monday….

Posted by Kimberly Ann on Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The outrage, in turn, triggered an investigation that led to Pasowicz being suspended.

“On Wednesday, Chicago Public Schools suspended the teacher for the duration of the investigation,” according to local station WGN.

“Chicago Public Schools (CPS) strives to foster safe and secure learning environments for our students, families, and colleagues. Our schools and the District investigate and address all complaints and allegations of wrongdoing in accordance with District policies and procedures,” the school district reportedly said in a statement.

Calls are already growing for Pasowicz to be fired, with students and parents in agreement that his error in judgment is apparently unforgivable.

“He is a history teacher so he would know this would evoke some emotions and remind people of lynching. He should have known,” one Whitney Young junior told WGN.

“You teached history, so you knew that this was a racist thing that you did. You knew 100 percent without a doubt what it represented and how hurtful and how disgusting it was,” a parent, Michelle Donegan, added in agreement.

A Change.org petition calling for Pasowicz to be fired claims that this isn’t his only offense — and that he’s “been known to spread misinformation and bigotry throughout Whitney Young High School as a world history teacher.” The petition even accuses him of alleged “hate crimes and microaggressions against students and teachers alike.”

To be clear, there is no history of him ever being charged with a hate crime. And indeed, some of the specific allegations against him seem highly dubious.

Take for instance this allegation: “He has been seen making a mockery of the Black Lives Matter Movement.”

“Making a mockery” of a movement that’s been primarily based on lies and that’s been the motivation behind widespread looting and rioting isn’t illegal.

“And most recently, there was a black doll hanging from the strings of a projector screen, mimicking a lynching. Mr. Pasowicz, when confronted about the violent imagery by another teacher, refused to take it down, stating that ‘people are too sensitive these days’. His bigotry and biases have ultimately culminated into a fight, creating a hostile environment for students and teachers alike,” the petition continues.

It’s unclear how the school district will proceed. What’s known is that the local teachers’ union — the same one that’s infamous for working hard to keep schools shuttered forever during the coronavirus pandemic — has already thrown Pasowicz under the bus.

“Mayor Lightfoot has a responsibility to provide a safe space for every member of our school communities, which is especially important in a district that serves a student population that is 90 percent Black and Brown children,” the Chicago Teachers Union said in a Twitter statement Wednesday.

“We understand the investigation at Whitney Young is ongoing, but practices that mitigate the harm of racial biases must also be ongoing and consistent in our schools. And any definition of ‘safety’ must include creating and reinforcing an environment of equity and inclusion for all students, staff and faculty of color.”


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Vivek Saxena


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