A Texas teacher has been placed on administrative leave after a picture of her standing above a student with her foot on his neck was released. The image resembled the act that led to George Floyd’s death.
On Wednesday, the Greenville Independent School District responded to the viral picture at Lamar Elementary School by apologizing to parents, Complex News reported.
“My initial thought when seeing the photo was actually disgust and concern for the child in the picture. Again it’s completely unacceptable, it’s completely out of the norm for our community and expectation that we have here at Greenville ISD,” Demtrus Liggins, the superintendent of the Greenville Independent School District, said. “Our community embraces diversity and we celebrate our differences here and we take the safety and dignity and respect of our students and staff very seriously. So to have something like this occur, although I do not have all the details for it since it’s under investigation, there’s no excuse for it.”
However, the picture was staged by a Black 10-year-old boy named Zaelyn Jackson who has a close relationship with his White teacher, who was not identified, according to KXAS-TV, a local NBC owned-and-operated television station licensed to Fort Worth, Texas.
Jackson’s mother recalls that teacher told her son to “Make sure you bring this paper back or I’m going to get on to you, and your mama told me to get on to you if I need to…I’m going to put my foot on your neck.”
As a photo opportunity and a lighthearted joke between two friends, Jackson, encouraged by his classmates, got on the ground and posed underneath his teacher’s foot.
The photo was sent as a text to Jackson’s mother, and somehow the picture leaked onto the web. Many rallied to get the teacher fired, but Jackson’s mother defended the teacher.