by Hayley Feland
A St. Paul public school is displaying a poster in its hallways that accuses police of hating minorities.
An image obtained by Alpha News of a poster from Johnson Senior High School depicts a fist breaking a law enforcement badge and reads, “No more police hatred toward minorities.”
A teacher at the school, who asked to remain anonymous, told Alpha News that he believes the poster is inappropriate.
“It’s exactly the type of thing we should be fighting against, which is a stereotype of certain people (police), lumping them all together as if all of them hate minorities, as well as the stereotype that all minorities are or should think of themselves as victims of police hatred simply due to their ethnicity or race,” he said.
The teacher said that this type of rhetoric will drive a “permanent wedge” between police and the community.
“Coupled with removing our uniformed police officers from St. Paul Public Schools, our district is practically guaranteeing a permanent wedge between minorities and our police, instead of showcasing them to demonstrate how important they are to our community, and to show that they are precisely not hateful of minorities,” he said.
Erica Wacker, the director of communications for St. Paul Public Schools, told Alpha News that the poster was part of a “Critical Ethnic Studies” course, which teaches students to “resist all systems of oppressive power rooted in racism through collective action and change.”
“Other projects addressed climate justice, social movements and culture,” Wacker said.
Wacker provided the course description, which states: “Critical Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary course that examines students’ identity, heritage, culture and communities in relation to various power structures, forms of oppression and inequalities that have an impact on their lives. With an emphasis on stories and lived experiences of people of color in the United States, the course explores the collective struggles, resilience and triumphs of their communities.”
The teacher told Alpha News that while the course is an elective, the poster was still hanging in a common area near the cafeteria as of Wednesday, where it’s been for several weeks. He explained that displaying the poster would have required approval from school staff.
“I consider it an overt method of driving a false narrative that all police, instead of just a tiny fraction, hate minorities or are prejudiced against certain people based upon race [or] ethnicity,” the teacher said.
Jamil Payton, the principal of Johnson Senior High School, did not respond to Alpha News’ request for comment.
Dave Racer, an alumnus of Johnson Senior High School, told Alpha News that the poster’s message is disgraceful.
“A poster that blames and shames police officers, as if what they do and who they are are to be condemned, has no place in any public building — especially a high school,” he said.
“My classmates are astounded by the common disrespect for law enforcement today, and we can assure you, this would never hang on our school walls,” he continued. “Johnson High graduated several students who went on to successful careers as police officers. Former Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom, his father, the former City Council president, and uncle, all are retired officers. Good men with high standards who practiced equality.”
Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.
Photo “Johnson Senior High School” by Johnson Senior High School.