A high school teacher in Virginia is going viral for suggesting that making children behave in the classroom is “the definition of white supremacy.” According to Fox News, Josh Thompson, an English teacher at Blacksburg High School, posted a since-deleted TikTok video criticizing the Montgomery County schools’ Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program.
Thompson claimed that the method used to reduce disruptive student behavior is “white supremacy with a hug.” In the clip, he stated, “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.” He continued, “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.” Thompson appears to have turned all of his social media accounts private, but the videos have already gone viral.
The Montgomery County School District told Fox News it was “proud” of its PBIS behavioral system and said it has been used for eight years to “create a standard for social-emotional learning and behavior expectations in the school building.” However, the school district supported Thompson’s videos stating, “A teacher is entitled to their personal belief regarding any division program.” They also noted, “the statements made by this teacher do not reflect our PBIS program or the behavioral expectations that we have of students in our schools.”
While Thompson’s Tik Tok account has been made private, several of his other videos were posted to the popular Libs of Tik Tok Twitter account. In one video, he says, “We think of power in terms of race, whiteness has the most power” and that “we have to involve race in all of our arguments and considerations.” In another video, he says 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. Chances are they wouldn’t have been brutalized. And if you don’t believe me, just take a look at all the instances of white people, especially white men, who oftentimes are brandishing weapons and who were taken into custody alive. But much of this is wrapped up in implicit bias.”
Thompson also wrote about his “justice work” last June for the National Education Association, in which he claimed he was giving his students “a more effective education.” In the article, he stated, “Growing up as a closeted gay kid in southwestern Virginia, I always knew the world wasn’t right. I knew that we had to make it better. Yes, I’m a cisgender white man, but my gay identity was sort of a window into what it is like for marginalized people. I’ve always known that.”
The viral clip comes after two other teachers from California were removed from classrooms for indoctrinating students with communist propaganda and encouraging kids to pledge allegiance to the LGBT flag.