Texas teacher reinstated after BLM, LGBTQ virtual posters controversy

Everyone is welcome in Roma High School teacher Taylor Lifka’s advanced English class, and that’s the message she was trying to convey by hanging Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ and Spanish posters in her virtual classroom.

But instead, she sparked controversy and was put on administrative leave.

“My assistant principal told me, ‘Please take the posters down.’ I guess once that happened, I knew that it might be a rocky road, but considering being put on leave? I never really thought that that was going to be their first step,” Lifka said in an interview with The Texas Tribune.

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While thousands of parents, students and community members showed Lifka tons of support and bashed the district for “punishing her,” even creating a Change.org petition in her honor, Roma school officials said several parents and community members filed complaints about the Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ posters, the Tribune reported.

Lifka said the situation kind of got out of hand when a screenshot of her virtual classroom that she posted to her personal account was shared to a pro-Trump Facebook group and further instigated by Republican Marian Knowlton, who is running for the District 31 state House seat. Knowlton has since deleted the post, but the Tribune reported that she accused the education system of “radicalizing” students and said Lifka’s posters were an example of “leftist indoctrination.”

Just two days after being placed on leave, Lifka was reinstated and told she could keep the posters up, but she told the Tribune she doesn’t plan to return until the district vows to show support and understanding for anti-racist policies and tolerance in classrooms.

“Why should a teacher be punished for creating a safe and inclusive environment for her students?” the Roma High School Student Council, which Lifka advises, said in a Facebook-released statement.