Editor’s note: This story has been update to include the district’s statement.
Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)—A non-profit organization created a petition requesting a Roma Independent School District teacher be removed from administrative leave.
Taylor Lifka was placed on administrative leave after several complaints were made about material displayed in her virtual class.
According to the district’s web page, Lifka is an Advanced English teacher at Roma High School.
Steven Cano from the South Texas Equality Project (STEP) says Lifka had posters in her virtual classroom that read “Black Lives Matter,” “Amiga, tu lucha es mi lucha,” and “Diverse, Inclusive, Accepting, Welcoming, Safe Space for Everyone” in rainbow colors.
Cano says a community member sent the non-profit a message about the teacher.
“I want to clarify that Ms. Lifka did not reach out to us, we want to bring awareness.” said Cano. “In our current times, we are still in that struggle for that need for equality.”
“Things have changed and LGBTQ students need to know that virtual classrooms are also a safe space” said Cano.
Cano also mentions they have not been in contact with Lifka.
The petition, which was created on Tuesday, has more than 6,000 signatures and continues to grow. The non-profit has a goal of 7,500 signatures.
There are other people who do not share the same beliefs as STEP.
Marian Knowlton, who is running for the Texas House of Representatives to represent District 31, said in a social media post that she is concerned that the education system has been “radicalizing” students.
“This is not an isolated occurrence, it is a national pattern. A concerted effort to teach children what to think, not how to think. ” reads Knowlton’s social media post. “Parents, I urge you to take a look at your child’s classroom, virtual or onsite.”
Through a statement, the district said it is working closely with the teacher to find a resolution that will ensure all parties involved reach an outcome that best benefits the expectations of the parents and students.
The district also mentioned Lifka is not being reprimanded in any way for her work or decisions.
“Roma ISD will continue to promote ideals of equality, acceptance and fair treatment of all students and community members, regardless of their age, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation. The District has anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies in place. Additionally, the District strives to create an educational environment where every student feels safe and welcome. The District hopes to continue working with the teacher to resolve this issue. ” says the statement.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.