A longtime teacher with an Ohio Catholic high school was fired after telling students it’s “disputed” that George Floyd couldn’t breathe, as he claimed on video prior to his death while police detained him last May, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
What are the details?
During a Feb. 24 Bishop Ready High School class, Deborah DelPrince — theology teacher — responded to a student’s screen that displayed an image of NBA star LeBron James wearing a “I can’t breathe” T-shirt, the Dispatch said.
James wore the shirt prior to a 2014 game in with Eric Garner, who died earlier that year after being restrained by a New York City police, the paper added. Garner said “I can’t breathe,” and so did Floyd.
DelPrince said regarding the statement on James’ shirt, “That’s not necessarily true, but it perpetuates a myth against police.”
She added, “I’m not sure LeBron James is in the position to be disrespectful to police, primarily because he probably doesn’t go anywhere without a bodyguard.”
Soon a student asked the teacher, “I’m sorry, did you just say it’s disputed that George Floyd couldn’t breathe?”
DelPrince replied, “Yes, it is disputed.”
“By who?” the student asked.
“The tape,” DelPrince answered.
The student began to question the teacher further, but stopped herself from continuing: “Did the medical examiner … I’m sorry, never mind … I’m gonna say something that’s gonna get me in trouble.”
What happened next?
The Catholic Diocese of Columbus launched an investigation and released a statement last week saying an instructor “made unsupported personal assertions and opinions” during a virtual class, the Dispatch reported.
“These comments, contrary to school and diocesan guidelines, reflected extremely poor judgment and, upon learning of this incident, the instructor was immediately placed on administrative leave pending a detailed investigation,” the statement said, according to the paper.
DelPrince — who’s been with the high school since 1999 — was fired Friday, just one day after being placed on administrative leave, the Dispatch said.
When reached by phone for a comment Tuesday afternoon, DelPrince hung up immediately, the paper added.
Here’s the clip:
The College Fix said it reached out to Javana Joyce, who posted the above tweet. The outlet said Joyce is a 2019 Bishop Ready graduate and is now a Bowling Green State University student. Joyce told the outlet she didn’t know the student who asked the question or who originally recorded the video and that she found the video on Snapchat.
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Despite her own admission that she found it on Snapchat and reposted it, she did not provide a name for the student who responded to DelPrince. However, she did say that this is not the teacher’s “first time” saying something controversial, but did not provide another example of a controversial statement from her.
Joyce helped push for a petition that called for DelPrince’s firing.
“We want to ensure that everyone who wants to share their story has a voice in this matter since so many of us were ignored before,” the petition said. “By bringing out voices together, we can be a strong community of students & alums to make a change here.”