A Celebrate Freedom Week social studies assignment at Cooper Junior High School drew a rebuke from parents and the Fraternal Order of Police yesterday for its use of an editorial cartoon seen as presenting police officers in a bad light.
The cartoon featured panels showing a slave trader, slave owner, Ku Klux Klan member and a police officer pinning a black man down with a knee to the neck, the same action that killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., on May 25 and sparked protests across the country.
After the cartoon drew a backlash, the assignment was removed and Wylie Independent School District apologized, stating: “Wylie ISD values our School Resource Officers and all members of the law enforcement community. SROs are a vital part of our campuses and community–we are grateful for their service. We are sorry for any hurt that may have been caused through a social studies lesson that included political cartoons that reflected negatively on law enforcement.
“The lesson taught at Cooper Junior High has been divisive to our community. The political cartoons portrayed in the social studies lesson are not part of the district’s curriculum resources or documents.”
CJHS Principal Shawn Miller issued a statement to parents explaining the purpose of Celebrate Freedom Week and the assignment, and noted that the assignment was removed and students are not required to complete it.
Use of the cartoon was intended to provide students with current events to analyze the Bill of Rights. One teacher presented the cartoon to students, but a teaching team had approved the lesson, Miller added.
By Joe Reavis [email protected]