Teacher says lesson on Travyon Martin investigation cost her her job

Petition effort aims to help her get it back

(WXYZ-PONTIAC) - It started with a classroom lesson involving the Trayvon Martin case.  It ended with a teacher fired.

Brooke Harris was an English teacher at the Pontiac Academy for Excellence Middle School.  The 26-year-old says she was voted Teacher of the Year for two out of the last three years.  Now she is fighting to get her job back. 

She says her problems started when she showed her students CNN's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting investigation.  She asked them to write editorials.  It struck a nerve.

"They saw Trayvon Martin. They saw what happened to him.  They felt it could have been them," said Harris.

Her students wrote with passion.  Harris says they then asked her if they could put on a fundraiser for the family of Trayvon Martin.  The wanted to give students the chance to pay $1 to wear a hoodie instead of their school uniform. 

Harris says when she took their request to school leaders she was accused of forcing her opinion of the Florida case on her students. 

"They didn't believe me when I told them it was the students' idea."

She was disciplined and later fired.

Rev. Charles E. Williams II, the Leader of National Action Network Michigan Chapter, is rallying behind the teacher.   He says a petition calling for Ms. Harris' reinstatement can be signed online at:
http://www.tolerance.org/blog/teacher-fired-over-trayvon-martin-fundraiser .

Williams says he also plans to demostrate at the Charter school in Pontiac middle school  unless Harrisd is reinstated by a Friday deadline.

Rev Charles Williams II, said "Education is a broadening experience, teachers should not be penalized for teaching and engaging students in the history of today."

Action News contacted the school for its side of the story.  Our calls were not returned.

Print this article Back to Top