Pro-Confederacy Teacher Complains About School District’s Probe

Reuters/Jason Miczek
Reuters/Jason Miczek

A Florida middle-school teacher who had his class watch a self-made, pro-Confederacy video for Confederate History Month has filed a complaint against his school district for launching an investigation into his questionable teaching practices.

Collier County Public Schools looked into a video that Manatee Middle School social studies teacher Jonathan Papanikolaou had his students watch during morning announcements on April 12, local outlet ABC 7 Southwest Florida reported.

“Every year, our state celebrates and memorializes that valiant, brave fight and the countless sacrifices by our men and women during that known as the Civil War, but may be more correctly titled the War To Prevent Southern Independence,” Papanikolaou reportedly narrated in the video.

In the lesson, Papanikolaou allegedly taught about “slaves and property rights, over taxation and a variety of violations of state’s right and sovereignty,” according to ABC 7.

Collier County Public Schools told The Daily Beast that its employee review committee met on April 27 and May 11, and went through a 90-page report about Papanikolaou’s Confederacy lesson. Ultimately the committee found that the lesson didn’t go against the school’s curriculum and there was “no just cause for discipline” despite outrage from parents and community members.

A district spokesperson also told The Daily Beast that morning announcements had been evaluated, and were previewed before they were presented to students.

“The Manatee Middle School principal met with his staff to openly discuss the issues, and he continues to maintain open lines of communication for students, staff, and parents on this and any other school-related issue,” the spokesperson said.

But one Manatee parent, Christina Cooper, told ABC7, “I think there’s just cause for some type of disciplinary action.”

What’s more, Papanikolaou then filed a complaint against the review committee, claiming the investigation caused a “hostile work environment” because colleagues were asking why he’s racist.

In the complaint, Papanikolaou said the ordeal “has caused [him] grief and awkwardness in classroom and school exchanges” and that some students were no longer comfortable taking his class.

“This situation has created emotional turmoil for myself,” he said.

Collier County Public Schools declined to provide the entire contents of Papanikolaou’s video to The Daily Beast or comment on any requests the teacher made in his complaint against the district.

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