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Cobb County students call for teacher’s termination over Breonna Taylor comments

Updated: Feb. 26, 2021 at 2:42 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A Cobb County high school teacher faces backlash Friday after controversial comments about Breonna Taylor. The comments led to some students demanding the district fire the employee.

In the video posted to Instagram, a Pebblebrook High School teacher can be heard talking to her virtual class about Taylor’s case. “What’s her name, Breonna ‘something,’” the teacher said.

Students tell CBS 46 this happened during Friday morning announcements. Breonna Taylor was being honored as the campus anticipated an afternoon vote from the Kentucky Senate that would restrict no-knock warrants. Pebblebrook High Schoolers said some even wore black in Taylor’s honor.

(Note: Kentucky’s senate passed a bill to restrict no-knock warrants Friday)

“I’m sorry. Truly, it’s sad. But she put herself in that position by hanging out with somebody she shouldn’t have been with,” the teacher said.

CBS46 is choosing not to identify the Pebblebrook employee because she is neither charged with anything, nor has the Cobb County School District named her in the incident.

The teacher’s speech continues in response to the school’s morning announcements highlighting Taylor.

“You know, if you hang out with people who are criminals and they shoot at a cop, you’re likely to get caught in the crossfire,” the teacher said. “It does not matter what color your skin is, you’re likely to get caught in the crossfire.”

Students like Genesis Crum called it wrong and tone-deaf.

“You’re in a school with predominantly Black and Hispanic kids and you decide to say something so insensitive. Why can’t you keep your comments to yourself, nobody needs to know how you feel,” Grum told CBS46′s Ciara Cummings.

Grum is calling for the teacher’s firing. She’s not alone, hundreds of social media comments are demanding the same. Some comments tagged popular blogs, others tagged the principal’s account. Grum did not record the video, but she posted the video on her friend’s behalf who wishes to remain anonymous.

“I was very upset, hurt,” Grum said, “I felt like she was oblivious to the situation.”

Grum told CBS46 she forwarded the video to the principal as well. The teen provided a screenshot of the email in which the principal, Dr. Giles, responded “WOW!!!! Thanks for sharing this.”

As the clip continues, the teacher added, “When you hang out with people with guns who shoot at cops, you’re likely to get caught in the crossfire.”

The employee falsely identifies Taylor’s boyfriend as the suspect police were searching for, but the students inform their teacher the cops were actually looking for her ex-boyfriend at the time, who was not living at the home where police arrived.

Still, the Pebblebrook teacher doubled-down.

“Like I said, I’m sorry she’s dead [but] they actually have proof that she fired at them first,” she claims as the students grow vocally upset.

One male student asks for the conversation to end and ultimately the teacher shifts to the lesson plan as the video clip ends. But for high-schoolers like Genesis Crum, the comments are just as shocking as they are heartbreaking.

“I feel like I have to fight for what’s right,” she added, “because Black Lives Matter.”

CBS46 reached out to the Cobb County School District, asking if leaders were aware of the incident prior to our email and if any action had been taken in response.

A spokesperson responded saying:

The District is aware of the allegations, is investigating, and will follow any relevant District policy. As a District, we expect every member of our staff to treat each other with respect and understanding.