Louisiana teacher Robert Duncan is fighting for his job at Boyet Junior High School after displaying his students’ pictures of President Obama in the hallway outside his classroom. According to AOL, while the images indicated diverse political beliefs, several were deemed racist and offensive.
AOL’s Claire Gordon explains:
[Some] of the cartoons, like one depicting a bullet hole in Obama’s temple… and another implying that it was Obama hunting season, disturbed a passing parent. The parent snapped photos of the cartoons on her cellphone and sent them to the media, according to Duncan’s attorneys. Then the firestorm began.
Secret Service agents went to the homes of two of the students, reports The Times-Picayune, and questioned the children and their parents to see if they posed a real threat to the president. Duncan was placed on paid administrative leave, and on Aug 6., Superintendent Trey Folse officially ended Duncan’s 13-year career at Boyet.
Folse testified on Wednesday that Duncan was fired for “making a bad, incompetent“ decision by posting the ”violent” pictures, as well as for dishonesty.
A number of Duncan’s former co-workers have stepped in to defend him, the social studies chair Mark Selzer commenting: “I did not see the element of racism… I saw political points of view being expressed, whether pro-Obama or anti-Obama, and that’s what the lesson was designed to do.”
There is also some controversy over whether the perceived “bullet hole” in one of the photos is really what it appears. Duncan claims it wasn’t there when he hung it up, and the student “artist” says it is the result of a dropped marker (and therefore, may have been there).
Many remain doubtful of both claims, saying the circle looks a little too large to be the result of an accidentally dropped marker.
Here is the photo, via CNN:
The appeals panel is on hold as Isaac blows through the region, and can only issue a recommendation on the eighth grade teacher’s future at the school, according to the Times-Picayne. Superintendent Trey Folse will make the final decision.
It is unclear whether the national media coverage will help or hurt his case.
Apparently Boyet Supervisor of Administration Michael Cosse admitted that, had the story not been all over the news, Duncan would likely never have been suspended in the first place.