A Virginia police officer and his wife said they are disturbed and angry about the “anti-police propaganda” featured in a Black History Month program put on by one high school.
The Orange County High School event was titled “Black Lives Matter” and featured readings including, “Voices: The Exhausting Task of Being Black in America” and ”They Don’t Really Care About Us.”
The event, originally slated for February but just held Thursday, featured performances and presentations by students from schools across the Orange County school district.
Student ushers wore black T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “I can’t breathe,” words uttered by Eric Garner, the unarmed New York man who died after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer.
A pro-police Facebook page first posted an anonymous account by a deputy who said his wife took their young son to watch their 8-year-old daughter perform with a choir:
As my wife walked into the auditorium, she noticed the students working the event were wearing black t-shirts that stated “I Can’t Breath” and “#blacklivesmatter”. My wife tried to overlook it and settled in to enjoy the program. My daughter had been selected to participate in the program and sing a “Motown Medley” as part of one of the elementary choirs. My wife looked at the program that she was handed as she took her seat and found disturbing and, what I would argue, anti-police propaganda all over it.
A program insert featured a list of the night’s performances and was decorated with illustrations of two girls holding signs that said, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
At this point my wife had an uneasy feeling about what this program was actually about and quickly realized those black t-shirts were not just some of the students “protesting” but that it was part of the nights theme! One by one students began reciting “last words”. To include
“I’m from Ferguson Missouri…. I was told to put my hands up. I did, and I was shot 7 times. My name is Michael Brown.”
While “Hands up, don’t shoot” has become a rallying cry across the country in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death, witnesses have given varied accounts as to whether the 18-year-old’s hands were actually up when he was fatally shot in a confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury opted not to indict Wilson, and the Department of Justice also declined to bring charges against him. However, a Justice Department investigation released this month found evidence of extensive racial discrimination in Ferguson, the final report so damning that the city manager was canned and the police chief resigned.
The deputy said his wife recorded video of the last few student performers in the “Last Words” segment.
The post said that several parents were upset by the tone of the presentation and tried to leave the auditorium with their children. The deputy claimed that a staff member wanted parents and students to remain in the auditorium until intermission, but that parents were ultimately allowed to leave before the break.
Performances listed in the program included:
- “Voices: The Exhausting Task of Being Black in America”
- “Don’t Shoot”
- “Not an Elegy for Mike Brown”
- “I Can’t Breathe”
- “Does my Black Life Matter”
- “They Don’t Really Care About Us”
The officer, who spoke to TheBlaze but asked that his name be withheld, wrote in the post that he did not attend the program, but that his wife shared her anger and disgust with him.
“I work very hard to serve my community,” he wrote. “I don’t make a lot of money and I don’t ask for recognition for doing my job. But to hear my baby girl ask us why do cops shoot good people? Are they bad cops? Does that make you (me) bad?? It was heart breaking and infuriating all at the same time.”
The officer said he spoke with Lightfoot Elementary School principal Jewel Williams about the program Friday morning and was told the principal “had no idea about the skits and the theme,” and directed him to Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Tanner.
He said Tanner told him the program was put together by high school students under the direction of two unnamed teachers. The officer and his wife have a meeting scheduled with her Friday.
Neither the superintendent nor the principal of Lightfoot Elementary immediately responded to requests for comment from TheBlaze.
The officer said he and his wife were upset at what he called “propaganda.”
“We were excited to allow our daughter to participate in a Black History event,” he said. “But were not told our daughter would be participating in a political event..”
Editor’s note: This post has been updated.
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