Timber Creek High School teacher Dan Grunewald twice refused to take down the controversial poster, even though he acknowledges he knew was violating rules issued by the administration. The poster had been hanging in his classroom since last fall, alongside an LGBT "pride" flag.
"There are rules. It was a directive to take the sign down, and by not [doing that], I'm going against that directive. But it's wrong. It's wrong of my school's administration, my principal, and my district to side with racism," the teacher told ABC-affiliated WFAA in Dallas.
Keller Independent School District policy states that teachers "shall not use the classroom to transmit personal beliefs regarding political or sectarian issues" – and the district routinely asks its teachers "to remove items posted on classroom walls that are considered expressions of personal beliefs."
AFN talked to Martin Baker of Project 21, who argues that the school is in the right. "They can tell you what you can or cannot have in a classroom," Baker states. "And something like that that could be politically invasive or hostile, they would have a right to censor that."
Grunewald told WFAA that he disagrees that "Black Lives Matter" is a controversial statement – and that he considers the poster to be a "small gesture" that he can make to his students of color that he "see[s] them."
But Baker contends Grunewald is revealing his own bias to students by accusing school administrators of racism.
"I believe that the best sort of educator is an educator where you never know their political bias," says the Project 21 advisory board member. "When you're not showing bias and you're able to still effectively be an educator, those are the best kind of educators."