VA teacher says encouraging behaviors like 'following directions' is white supremacy

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A Virginia high school teacher posted a video criticizing the concept of students behaving themselves and sitting quietly in class as part of white supremacy. 

“I stated that PBIS is white supremacy with a hug and a lot of y’all wanted to know more about that,” the teacher said in the video that was originally posted to his TikTok account in May. The teacher was referring to Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), which is framework used by Virginia public schools “to support positive academic and behavioral outcomes for all students.”

The teacher appears to be Josh Thompson, an English teacher at Blacksburg High School. 

The Montgomery County School District told Fox News of the video that, “A teacher is entitled to their personal belief regarding any division program. The statements made by this teacher do not reflect our PBIS program or the behavioral expectations that we have of students in our schools.”

The school district also noted “MCPS has used PBIS in our schools for eight years. We are proud of our PBIS work. This work helps create a standard for social-emotional learning and behavior expectations in the school building.”

Thompson said in the video, which appears to have been pulled from his TikTok account as of Tuesday morning, that behaviors such as sitting quietly and being told what to do is part of “white culture.” 

“So if PBIS concerns itself with positive behaviors, we have to ask ourselves, ‘Okay well what are those positive behaviors?’ And it’s things like making sure that you’re following directions, and making sure that you’re sitting quietly, and you are in your seat and all these things that come from white culture.”

“The idea of just sitting quiet and being told stuff and taking things in in a passive stance is not a thing that’s in many cultures. So if we’re positively enforcing these behaviors, we are by extension positively enforcing elements of white culture. Which therefore keeps whiteness at the center, which is the definition of white supremacy.”

The video received swift pushback, with many commenters seeing it as evidence for more parents to homeschool their kids, while others called for the teacher to be fired. 

Other TikToks remain live on Thompson’s account, and in one, he is seen on camera while a caption reads, “When teachers say they wouldn’t have to write a kid up if they behaved correctly, knowing good damn well that those expectations are rooted in wh!te suprem@cy.

In yet another video, Thompson said that he reminds educators, “that instances of police brutality and the murders of black and brown people by police officers is directly connected to the work that we do.”

“Because if any of those people had been white, chances are they wouldn’t have been murdered. Chances are they wouldn’t have been brutalized. And if you don’t believe me, just take a look at all the instances of white people, especially white men, who oftentimes are brandishing weapons and who were taken into custody alive. But much of this is wrapped up in implicit bias,” he said. 

The incident comes after a California teacher was removed from her classroom after she went viral in a TikTok video admitting that she encouraged her students to pledge allegiance to a gay pride flag after she removed the American flag from her classroom. 

“So, my class decided to stand but not say the words. Totally fine,” the teacher, identified as Kristin Pitzen of Newport Mesa School District in Orange County, said in the viral video. 

“Except for the fact that my room does not have a flag,” she said, explaining that she removed the flag during the pandemic and then whispered to the camera, “because it made me uncomfortable.” 

“In the meantime, I tell this kid, ‘We do have a flag in the class that you can pledge your allegiance to. And he like, looks around and goes, ‘Oh, that one?'” and pointed to the pride flag.

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