A Black middle school teacher in Orange County, Fla., is under fire for posting anti-Islamic remarks while appearing to endorse White supremacists in the process. The Orlando Sentinel reported that 51-year-old Sundai Brown has been making inflammatory remarks as recently as late 2017 and that Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) knew about it. Parents are now demanding to know why Brown still has a job.
Brown has been teaching for some 25 years and has been employed by the district since 2010. The Bridgewater Middle School social studies teacher tweeted that Muslim leaders are the masterminds behind invasions of western countries, overthrow of their governments, and implementation of sharia law.
Brown also retweeted posts by White nationalist group Identity Evropa and other individuals who share their racist ideologies. The Orlando Sentinel obtained screenshots of these posts from Brown’s Twitter and Facebook accounts which have now been deleted.
When word of the existence of Brown’s posts reached Bridgewater Middle School principal Andrew Jackson, he sent out a recorded message to parents on Tuesday night calling the stories media stunts. Jackson assured parents that the posts were old and that he had already addressed the issue. But a friend of one of those parents, Daniel Quinn, took screenshots of the posts and forwarded them to district superintendent Barbara M. Jenkins. Quinn demanded to know what she was going to do about it.
“As you are aware, Sundai Brown, a teacher at Bridgewater Middle School, regularly posted anti-Muslim hate speech on @Twitter,” Quinn wrote on his Facebook page.
“As a retired clinical social worker with over 25 years experience in public schools, I am appalled by Ms. Brown’s hate speech, as well as by Principal Andrew Jackson’s response to them. Ms.Brown is free to speak as she chooses but she has no business working in public schools. What action are you taking?”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, district spokeswoman Kathy Marsh confirmed that Brown was still employed by OCPS, but would neither confirm nor deny whether an investigation has been opened into the matter. Brown, according to her LinkedIn account, is also reportedly an adjunct professor at Valencia College.
In his message to parents, Principal Jackson said that the district doesn’t “condone or interfere” with its employees’ social media activities unless they violate the district’s professional code of ethics. Parent Ethan Allen says that Brown’s behavior does and that she should not be teaching. Those who are responsible for educating young minds should not hold such narrow, hateful views. Allen believes that the school district has a responsibility to ensure that its teachers are held to much higher standards.
“Teachers should be accepting and open to understand other cultures, views, and beliefs so as our children become adults they can work together with different people from around the world to solve our problems,” Allen wrote.