Billy Byrd, a father in Raleigh, N.C., first told his story to North Carolina news station ABC11, alleging that a substitute music teacher at Rand Road Elementary School in Garner, N.C., led the misguided lesson on Friday.
Writing on Facebook that his son — dressed in black sweatpants, a black basketball T-shirt and Air Jordan sneakers — was “totally disrespected,” Byrd said. “To wear athletic apparel while being BLACK is obviously a MARK for long term imprisonment these days by racist radicals portraying to be godly and upright conservative Christians.”
Byrd tells Yahoo Lifestyle that when he picked up Nathan and his twin sister from school on Friday, they were both frowning. “Nathan said, ‘Dad there’s a problem — my teacher was saying crazy things to me.'”
The father of three had trouble understanding that his son was talking about a teacher. “I’m thinking, is this a parent? A lunatic on campus?”
Byrd doesn’t know the sequence of classroom events but says the teacher got irritated because the children weren’t sitting down. “My son said she asked, ‘Who knows who the president is?’ and ‘If you don’t support him, you’re not a good Christian.'”
The teacher allegedly transitioned to Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “You may not have known this but he died by suicide — he wasn’t assassinated.” Byrd tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Nathan stood up and responded: “That’s not true.”
Byrd says she told Nathan that he was dressed like a prisoner. “She said, ‘I have seen kids like you. You’re one shot away from getting into trouble. I can tell by your attire, you will be in prison one day.”
A Rand Road Elem parent says a substitute music teacher told his 10-yr-old son that his athletic clothes were prison attire. The sub also said MLK committed suicide and his assassination was fake. And told students they aren’t Christians if they don’t believe in Trump. #ABC11 pic.twitter.com/9A7HkwsYOw
— DeJuan Hoggard (@DeJuanABC11) February 11, 2019
On Friday, Byrd walked his children back into school and into the principal’s office, who investigated, and he personally fact-checked his son’s story with classroom parents.
A school spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle, “The school became aware of the students’ concerns Friday afternoon as classes were ending. The principal and staff talked with as many students as possible before the day ended. Based on those conversations, the substitute teacher was contacted over the weekend and immediately resigned. She is no longer eligible to teach in the district.” Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to the teacher but did not hear back for comment.
“We need federal screening for substitute teachers,” Byrd tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Nathan is a joyous kid. He was frustrated, but he’s telling his truth.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: