A Kentucky father is calling for school officials to remove a piece of art from his daughter’s classroom.
Dave Hamblin’s daughter attends North Oldham High School. He noticed a picture in his daughter’s classroom, which he called “hatred filled propaganda," WDRB reports.
The picture shows a flashback to 1930 with a Ku Klux Klan member pointing a gun at a black man. Next to it, the picture says 2015 with a police officer pointing a gun at a black child. The picture also features the confederate flag and American flag next to each other.
Hamblin is now calling for the picture to be taken down. He took to Facebook on Feb. Feb. 23 to express his concern. Hamblin wrote:
I sent out a request to take it down and it seems that the school and school administrators believe this to be an appropriate form of discourse and educationally noteworthy. The teacher stated, “it's a really good example and shows how racial violence has evolved”. My daughter was subjected to this yet again, and my requests to the school to abstain from this obvious hostile learning environment were met with deaf ears.
I now ask that each of you who care, share this with every first responder you know. I cannot sit back and allow the teacher’s supposed right to free speech when the courts have found that the right to freedom of speech is not absolute if it compromises a student's right to learn in a hostile-free environment. For example, the courts have held that professor's use of vulgar language is "not germane to the subject matter." The courts have held that instructors must avoid indoctrinating or proselytizing.
Hamblin went on to say that the picture was "propaganda" that will create "future cop haters." He wrote that the picture was supposed to be based on the Pulitzer Prize Winning book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee. However, Oldham County Schools spokeswoman Tracy Green told WDRB the picture was in response to an assignment about racial injustice.
“When discussing social injustice, people will likely be offended by some topic,” Green said. “The drawing is a student's artistic representation based on the lens through which the student viewed that issue and the student has a First Amendment right to share that opinion.”
Hamblin doesn’t see it that way.
“When I saw it, I could see immediately why [my daughter] didn't feel comfortable with it, because I didn't feel comfortable with it,” Hamblin, who works as a police officer, told the news station. “It's comparing a race-based ideology, or the KKK, to that of professional workers who serve their country day-in and day-out.
“There's propaganda and there's the First Amendment. They're two different things, especially in a government-run classroom.”
Despite the disagreement, Green said Oldham County Schools are “very thankful and supportive of all law enforcement personnel, especially the local agencies we work closely with every day.”
“As educators, we play an important role in preparing our students for the world that exists outside our own buildings,” Green said. “These topics can be divisive and upsetting to people on all sides of these issues but part of our role is to give students an opportunity to discuss those.”
Green said that the district supports Hamblin’s right to write about the picture on social media but added that he “has yet to contact the school's administration to discuss his concerns.” Green also admitted that Hamblin is not the first to complain about the picture but said the decision to keep the picture up or take it down is up to the teacher.
“We believe that our role as educators is to prepare our kids for the world beyond the classroom and sometimes things are gonna be controversial,” Green said. “So at this point, they're continuing on with that assignment. It's up to the teacher if she feels like it's causing a distraction and wants to take it down she can, but we're certainly not going to ask her to.”