A Westchester County high-school teacher kicked off his first day of classes by handing out an image on the Black Lives Matter movement — comparing modern-day cops to slave owners and the Ku Klux Klan.
Westlake HS educator Christoper Moreno gave his 11th-graders a handout Sept. 8 which included a five-frame cartoon panel.
The first three frames show slave owners and a member of the KKK with their knees on the backs of black men in shackles. The KKK member also has a noose around the black man’s neck.
The last two panels depict a sheriff and a police officer each with their knees on the neck of a black man in handcuffs. The black man is saying, “I can’t breath’’ — what black Minneapolis victim George Floyd gasped as his neck was knelt on by white cop Derek Chauvin, sparking ongoing BLM protests across the country.
“My daughter showed me the paper. I said, `What is this?! You’ve got to be kidding me!’ ” said Westlake mom Ania Paternostro. “This cartoon compares the police to the KKK. It’s an attack on the police.”
The mother said she immediately fired off letters of protest to Mount Pleasant School District Superintendent Kurt Kotes and Westlake Principal Keith Schenker, whose school is in the district.
“Enough is enough,” Paternostro told The Post.
“This cartoon is disturbing. We have to respect the men in blue who protect us,” added the mom of two, a native of Poland.
“We don’t need a teacher brainwashing my kids. I’ll teach my kids about what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Her daughter Nicole said she was troubled by Moreno’s lesson plan because she considered it one-sided and anti-police, too.
“The cartoon was disgusting,’’ the teen said. “It compared the police with all the terrible people in history. It was not fair. It wasn’t right.’’
Nicole said she has been bullied on social media over the past few days and called a racist for blowing the whistle on the controversial lesson plan.
Moreno did not respond to e-mail and phone requests for comment.
Kotes and Schenker declined comment — although the superintendent sent a letter to Paternostro and the parents of other kids in the class promising an “investigation’’ into the lesson plan.
“I want to address an issue that I have recently been advised is of deep concern to many members of our community,’’ Kotes wrote in his letter.
“Specifically, I have been advised that one of our High School teachers may have recently conducted a lesson that many have deemed to be highly controversial in the current climate.
“I want to assure the community that the District will be conducting a thorough investigation to determine what exactly occurred in this particular classroom and what, if any, action is to be taken under the circumstances to appropriately address the matter,’’ he said.
“Once the investigation has been completed we will follow up with the community to the extent necessary and legally appropriate.”
Either way, the lesson did not sit well with members of Westlake’s law-enforcement community.
“It’s a smack in the face to law enforcement, it’s an absolutely a smear of the police,” Steve Kardian, a retired Mt. Pleasant police officer and former New York city Department of Investigations prober, to The Post of the cartoon.
Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican running for state senate in the district, added, “Parents don’t send their children to school to learn to hate America and our police.
“Our schools should be a place for the open exchange of ideas, not political indoctrination. The false narratives and brainwashing has to stop.”
The controversy comes just weeks after the Wylie Independent School District in Texas pulled an online assignment — which featured the same cartoon — given to eighth graders.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott called for the teacher who assigned the lesson to be fired.
New York Post
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