Cy-Fair ISD teacher under investigation for allegations about inappropriate lessons on slavery

Rosie Nguyen Image
Thursday, April 6, 2023
CFISD teacher on leave for alleged inappropriate slavery reenactment
A Cy-Fair ISD teacher is being investigated for allegedly conducting a racist reenactment and singling out a Black student during a slavery lesson.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A mother wants her daughter's history teacher fired after allegedly praising the Confederate flag and using the only Black student in the class for a hypothetical example about slavery. Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District said it had opened an investigation, and the teacher has been placed on leave.

Tori Ards said she received a phone call from her daughter last Thursday, claiming her history teacher at Kahla Middle School said the Confederate flag had "nothing to do with slavery" and "history got it wrong." The mother said she reported the incident to the assistant principal, who allegedly apologized and said the school would look into it.

Then on Monday, her daughter reported a second incident to administrators where the teacher allegedly used her, being the only Black student in the class, in an example about fugitive enslavement. Ards and her family members joined community activists Wednesday morning in speaking about their experience. The activists included Quanell X with New Black Panther Nation, Candice Matthews with the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, and Sledge Leonidas with the Houston Caribbean Professionals Association.

"She (the teacher) went on to further intimidate this young woman by using the analogy with her daughter, about how she could be captured and how the teacher could take her to the south and sell her. She's singling out this young Black student as an example of a slave auction, a slave capture, and a sale," Quanell X said. "We have teachers, who are racists and bigots in the classrooms, in charge of the responsibility of shaping and developing young minds and want to rewrite history to desensitize slavery, human bondage, lynching, and deprivation of Black people in America and here in the south."

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Ards said the incident was embarrassing for her daughter and is negatively impacting her mental health and desire to return to school.

"It's affecting my daughter tremendously. And, of course, consequently affecting me. It's just a very emotionally-charged situation. She's in gifted and talented courses. She's a student-athlete. She's never had disciplinary action. Not to say any student who doesn't have those accolades and abilities deserves to be ostracized because no student does," Ards said.

A representative with Cy-Fair ISD forwarded a letter to ABC13 that Principal Joshua Carroll sent out on Wednesday.

"We have been made aware of allegations involving a staff member and improper role-playing during a social studies lesson. We are thoroughly investigating these allegations, and the staff member will not be on campus prior to the outcome of the investigation," the letter said in part.

Those who were at Wednesday's press conference called for the teacher to be fired and banned from ever teaching again.

"We stand in solidarity with this family. We do not condone this, and we are not complicit. You (the teacher) don't need to be nowhere in nobody's classroom with those types of ideologies. Absolutely not. We put our foot down on white supremacy. We put our foot down on trying to damage our children," Matthews said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the teacher via phone for comment, but she hung up after ABC13 Reporter Rosie Nguyen identified herself.

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An eighth grade student at the school recorded his teachers discussion.