A Georgia school district is facing pressure to act after a teacher made inaccurate statements about the death of Breonna Taylor.
The Cobb County School District says it’s investigating after students at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton accused the teacher of blaming Taylor, 26, and her boyfriend for Taylor’s death at the hands of Louisville police last year.
Teacher Susan McCoy made the comments during a virtual class on Feb. 26, shortly after principal Dana Giles paid tribute to Taylor, an EMT worker, on the school’s morning announcements, WSB-TV reported. A recording of the class session was shared on Instagram and has been widely shared online.
“Dr. G is on the announcements talking about ... what’s her name? Breonna, something — the one that was killed in the gunfire by the cops,” McCoy is heard saying.
McCoy, who teaches forensic science at the metro-Atlanta high school, goes on to say that Taylor “put herself in that position” by associating with an alleged criminal. Several students can be heard challenging the teacher’s account of the deadly shooting.
“I’m sorry she was killed, but you know, when you hang out with people with guns that shoot at cops, you’re likely to get caught in the crossfire,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, you’re likely to get caught in the crossfire.”
“Like I said, I’m sorry she’s dead,” McCoy continued. “And they actually have proof that he fired at them first.”
Taylor’s death sparks protests
Taylor died on March 13, 2020 after police in Louisville, Kentucky, executed a “no-knock” warrant at her apartment during a narcotics investigation involving her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, who was already in custody. She was with her current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when three officers forced their way into her apartment and opened fire.
Walker, who has no criminal history and is a legal gun owner, told 911 that someone had “kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.” Thinking the cops were intruders, Walker shot and wounded Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who along with detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison fired more than 20 rounds. Taylor was struck at least eight times, and died at the scene.
Walker was charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, but that charge was dropped in May.
None of the officers were indicted in the death of Taylor, fueling protests against racial and social injustice.Two of the officers, Cosgrove and Mattingly, were fired earlier this year.
Since the shooting, Louisville has banned the use of no-knock warrants and agreed to a $12 million settlement to Taylor’s family.
Teacher apologizes for ‘tone deaf’ comments
McCoy’s comments struck a nerve with students and parents, who are now calling on the school district to fire her.
“I was very upset, hurt,” Pebblebook student Genesis Grum told WGCL of the teacher’s “tone deaf” remarks. “You’re in a school with predominantly Black and Hispanic kids and you decide to say something so insensitive.”
McCoy issued an apology over the weekend, saying she was sorry for speaking on “something that I didn’t understand.”
“I truly, truly apologize and ask for forgiveness and hope that someday I can have that trust back with my students that I know that I lost,” McCoy said in a video, FOX5 Atlanta reported.
McClatchy News reached out to Cobb County Schools for comment and is awaiting a response.