Black Live Matter gets Como teacher fired?

Recently there was an incident involving a St. Paul Public school, and the organization Black Lives Matter. What follows is the events connected to that incident.

Black Lives Matter is preparing to shut down Como Park Senior High School unless a teacher is fired for Facebook comments. Organizer Rashad Turner said the group met Friday, March 5, to plan its protest of Theo Olson, a special-education teacher at Como. In one post, Olson suggested Como is “enabling student misconduct” in a misguided attempt to keep students in school and out of the criminal justice system.

Theo Olson is a special-education teacher at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul. (Screenshots from Facebook)

Theo Olson is a special-education teacher at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul. (Screenshots from Facebook)

The screenshots/evidence on:

show that Olson (the teacher) said, “Anyone care to explain to me the school-to-prison pipeline my colleagues and I have somehow created, or perpetuated, or not done enough to interrupt?” he wrote. “Because if you can’t prove it, and campaigns you’ve waged to deconstruct adult authority in my building by enabling student misconduct, you seriously owe us real teachers an apology. Actually, an apology won’t cut it.”

In Olson’s second post he talked about iPad and phone devices used for social media and gaming.“There have always been rules for ‘devices,’ and defined levels of misconduct. Since we now have no backup, no functional location to send kids who won’t quit gaming, setting up fights, selling drugs, whoring trains, or cyber bullying, we’re screwed, just designing our own classroom rules,” it continued.

Turner took Olson’s remarks as “sweeping generalizations about black students.” Turner said the teachers comments presented a perfect opportunity for the city’s Black Lives Matter chapter to turn its activism toward St. Paul Public Schools, which has far higher rates of suspensions for black and American Indian students than for their peers.

Olson went on to say that rather than putting students on a path to prison, he sees himself as “a link of the school to opportunity and freedom pipeline.” Olson offered to speak to Turner and explain his views but Turner had no desire to speak to Olson. Turner and his activists will meet with the school district leaders on the following Monday, March 7.

After meeting with the district leaders on Monday, Black Lives Matter St. Paul has called off plans to “shut down” Como Park Senior High, according to Superintendent Valeria Silva. Silva stated that their conversation was “productive and positive.” She also went on to say, “It is clear we share a common vision of high expectations and achievement for all students and ongoing commitment to racial equity,” finally to conclude she said “I am thankful that Mr. Turner has chosen to discontinue any immediate protests planned at Como Park Senior High School.” Turner choose to not comment on Monday, Olson who still will continue to teach at Como has also chosen to not comment on anything.

As of Thursday, March 17, Olson is on a paid administrative leave.

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