On Saturday, a white shooter opened fire at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, killing ten Black individuals.
Elizabeth Close’s high school ethnic studies class was addressing a new state legislation mandating that she present balanced viewpoints on “widely disputed and politically contentious matters.” Texas is one of many states that have recently enacted legislation restricting how instructors may address racism. Teachers debated on social media and in essays how to discuss the massacre in Buffalo. A math instructor in Atlanta said that he was hesitant to respond when his pupils brought up the subject.
A teacher in east Texas wrote, “Legally, I cannot touch it.” They might equip pupils with historical background and media literacy skills on the history of racism in America. A teacher might use the massacre in Buffalo as a springboard to initiate a lesson on gun regulation. In the present context, however, these debates may potentially put teachers at danger, according to one expert. Terry Harris, executive director of student services for the Rockwood School District in the St. Louis suburbs, said that instructors are required to explain the historical background of contemporary events.
Harris observed, “Teachers are thinking, ‘I’m not prepared to risk that dialogue and lose my job because I need to feed my family.'” Sen. Bernie Feingold argues that legislation mandating a balanced viewpoint on contentious matters may be applied to the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. A teacher in Texas informed her pupils that she was required to provide several viewpoints on the assault. Elizabeth Close said that she could not conceive of a method to approach the topic appropriately in a classroom with kids of color and immigrants.