Josh Thompson: Virginia teacher says it's 'White supremacy' to ask kids to sit still
Thompson who teaches English at Blacksburg High School in Montgomery County faced calls to resign after making the claims
Josh Thompson, an English teacher from Virginia is being slammed on social media for claiming the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) model used in schools promotes 'White supremacy'. The three-tiered model encourages students to learn appropriate behavior, eliminate the risk of unwanted behavior among other things. Thompson argues directing students to behave in a certain way and follow directions is the "definition of White supremacy" for which he's facing backlash online and his statements are being construed as disrespectful towards people of color.
In the past, the Bill Gates-funded program stirred controversy for alluding that mathematics has racist undertones and urged educators to not pressure students to find the correct answer in math. A Connecticut school district made headlines for asking teachers to think about race in all situations including personal tasks like brushing teeth and taking a shower. Dana Stangel-Plowe, a teacher from NJ quit her job over her school's critical race theory policies.
Who is Josh Thompson?
Thompson describes himself as an "English edu. Reader. Writer. Laugher. #DisruptTexts supporter. Wearer of cardigans. I believe in children. Teaching is political. He/him." His tweets have been set to private, so is his TikTok account. In the video which put him in the spotlight, not necessarily in a good way, Thompson had added, "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. 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."
In the video from May which has since been deleted, Thompson said, "I stated that PBIS is white supremacy with a hug and a lot of y'all wanted to know more about that . . . 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."
Thompson claimed in the video that making kids follow directions and expecting them to behave a certain way stemmed from White supremacy. The video was shared and viewed massively and what followed were negative reactions to the views he expressed. While the teachers at Blacksburg High School in Montgomery County in VA, the students, and their parents have held their opinions to themselves, people on Twitter didn't hold back.
Teacher claims that encouraging students to behave is white supremacy pic.twitter.com/DCBdcuMitg— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) September 13, 2021
A parody account named LibsofTikTok was able to acquire the videos and uploaded the same to their Twitter inciting a lot of reactions. "Assuming that only the white culture shares the value of being polite and respectful is blatant racism. Besides, this behavior while learning is way more prevalent in Asian countries than in Occidental ones," a user wrote bashing Thompson for his opinion. "He thinks it's unnatural for non-white children to sit still and listen or follow instructions, which is about as racist as it gets," another comment read. "Please stop trying to paint everything in regards to basic manners and order as white supremacy. That only shows you validating white superiority than owning those basic values. It's like saying eating healthy is white supremacy. Oh so you're saying white ppl own good nutrition?" another comment read.
School district officials are aware about the anger among people over Thompson's video. In a statement to Fox News, they said, "A teacher is entitled to their personal belief regarding any division program. The statements made by this teacher do not reflect our PBIS program or the behavioral expectations that we have of students in our schools." The district added that it "has used PBIS in our schools for eight years. We are proud of our PBIS work. This work helps create a standard for social-emotional learning and behavior expectations in the school building."