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Fifth-grade teacher wears 'Columbus was a murderer' shirt to school. She says she did it to 'spark discussion.'


What was she thinking?

Image source: WXYZ-TV video screenshot

Emma Howland-Bolton of Detroit Public Schools Community District wore a sweatshirt that boldly declared "Columbus was a murderer."

She says she wore it to "spark discussion," but the district did nothing about it.

What are the details?

Howland-Bolton, who teaches fifth grade at Clippert Multicultural Magnet Honors Academy, says her shirt isn't controversial, because "it is a fact."

"I wanted to wear this shirt to spark discussion," she insisted.

She added that a school administrator initially advised her to change her shirt.

"I was informed that my shirt was my opinion, and I countered with 'It is a fact,'" she added.

A spokesperson for the district said that the shirt was noticeable because sweatshirts are not permitted for the school's business casual dress code. The district later determined that the shirt was only problematic because it was not "submitted as any lesson plan to be pre-approved," according to WXYZ-TV.

The teacher did not face discipline over the shirt and ensuing controversy.

What else?

The station shared its story on Facebook, where it garnered a lot of discussion.

One commenter wrote, "Not in the classroom! Keep your. Personal opinions. Teach what you're paid to do."

Others called the teacher "brave" for wearing the sweatshirt.

"She is a teacher, wearing a shirt that has a true statement on it. Good for her," another commenter added. "Until our textbooks teach the truth this clearly, we continue to need brave teachers like this one."

Another Facebook user declared that she was "thankful" to no longer be in school in this day and age.

"I'm so thankful I'm no longer in school and have to put up with the nonsense of educators using children as their personal political platform," the user wrote. "She knew damn well this would be controversy NOT discussion. If there was an ass of the year award, she'd win it!"

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