Pensacola Teacher Resigns After School District Removes His 'Age Inappropriate' Images of Historic Black Americans


PENSACOLA, Fla. - An elementary school teacher in Pensacola has resigned after he says a school district employee removed photos of historic Black American figures from a bulletin board in his classroom.

Michael James, who taught at O.J. Semmes Elementary School in Pensacola, said he had posted images on a bulletin board depicting civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman, scientist George Washington Carver and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

James told the Pensacola Journal that he wanted to display the pictures so the students, a majority of whom are Black, could see someone they could relate to.

He says that while he was setting up his classroom the staff member started removing items from his bulletin board, saying the images were not "age appropriate." He said she also removed a photo he had on his desk of former President Barack Obama.

"I've been teaching special education for 15 years, and it just really floored me when she did that," he told the newspaper.

James did not name the staff member, but he described the person who took down his images as a board-certified behavior analyst for the school district.

James emailed both Escambia County Superintendent Tim Smith and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.  He then officially resigned from his post as an exceptional student education (ESE) teacher. It would have been his first year teaching in Florida.

In a statement provided to the paper, Escambia County Public Schools spokesperson Cody Strother said on behalf of the school that they were made aware of Smith's resignation Tuesday and are investigating the incident.

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