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Teacher says ‘positive behavior’ like ‘sitting quietly,’ ‘following directions’ is white supremacy

Kendall Tietz, DCNF

A Virginia high school teacher posted a TikTok video criticizing the state’s disciplinary approach which promotes such rules as sitting quietly and following directions as “white supremacy.”

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a framework adopted by Virginia “to support positive academic and behavioral outcomes for all students” through “evidence-based prevention and intervention behavioral strategies.”

“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 and reposted Monday. “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 teacher in the video appears to be Josh Thompson, an English teacher at Blacksburg High School, Fox News reported.

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

“MCPS has used PBIS in our schools for eight years,” the district added. “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 believes a school should value “education justice” that puts “relationships at the heart of everything,” “whose curriculum wasn’t whitewashed” and “told the true stories of not only America but of the world,” according to a Member Spotlight from the National Education Association. Thompson also advocated for “spaces designated specifically for people of color.”

“One of the challenges of fighting for education justice is having to deal with people who have grown up in a hetero, white supremacist, patriarchal society,” Thompson added.

In another TikTok, Thompson said that he wanted to remind “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.”

Thompson’s TikTok account is now private, but the video prompted backlash and calls that he be fired.

The Montgomery County School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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