A Georgia social studies teacher is facing backlash after a fiery classroom rant in which she claimed President Donald Trump was pushing for a return to segregation and accused white students of being the descendants of “European” mass murderers.
Josie Orihuela, a sixth-grade student at Hampton Middle School near Atlanta, recorded the 15-minute rant in February as her teacher Johnetta Benton gave a lesson for Black History Month.Speaking with Fox News, Orihuela said Benton started railing against the president as she turned on a video for the class to watch, arguing that Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again” slogan was a call to “try and bring back segregation.”
“He must be talking about when it was great for Europeans,” the teacher is heard saying in the recording. ” … Because when it comes to minorities, America has never been great for minorities. ‘Cuz when I examine history, I can’t remember a time when it was great for anybody other than Europeans.”
Students tried to challenge Benton’s notion, arguing that Trump’s slogan might be a call for a return to stricter immigration policies, like the those in place prior to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Benton wasn’t trying to hear it, however.
‘Orihuela said her teacher’s diatribe only got worse from there.
“Because Europeans came from Europe, you are immigrants,” Benton told her class. “You are illegal immigrants. Because you came and just took it … You are an immigrant. This is not your country!”
“Before you talk about somebody else look at yourself in the mirror, look at your ancestry in the mirror before you start saying, ‘You’re bad, and you’re bad and you’re bad, so you can’t come ’cause you happened to have killed a few people. Well, guess what? My people have killed millions, not a few. Millions upon millions upon millions – babies and children,” she said, pretending to be a ‘European’.
Orihuela said she went home and let her mom listen to the tape, saying she was shocked by the teacher’s remarks. Orihuela’s mother was so upset over the incident that she pulled her daughter from the school.
“I told my daughter I was proud that she had the nerve to ask the questions, and that she called [her teacher] out on the fact that Trump is talking about illegal immigrants, not legal immigrants,” Kimberly Orihuela told police news site Blue Lives Matter. “But when she told the kids to go home and look in the mirror and reflect on what their ancestors have done … I had had enough.”
J.D. Hardin, the communications coordinator for the Henry County School district, has spoken out since the incident, calling Benton’s rant “extremely unfortunate.” In a statement, Harden said the matter was “addressed immediately.”
“…This unfortunate incident affords us the opportunity to remind our educators of the importance of keeping any potential political bias out of lessons for students of any age,” he said in a statement to “Fox & Friends.”
The incident comes just days after another teacher at the school instructed students to write letters to their local representatives to demand gun control.