Commentary: Teacher Codes of Conduct Offer Alternative to Critical Race Theory Bans

The firing of Matthew Hawn, a high school teacher in Sullivan County, Tennessee, recently made national news and seemed to confirm fears that newly-enacted state bans on critical race theory (CRT) would have a chilling effect on teacher speech. Hawn, a 16-year veteran tenured teacher and baseball coach, had assigned students in his contemporary issues class Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essay, “The First White President,” and a spoken word poem from Kyla Jenée Lacey called “White Privilege.” One headline declared, “A Tennessee teacher taught a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay and a poem about white privilege. He was fired for it.” A Georgetown professor tweeted, “This really seems extreme and a harbinger of what is to come.”

But contrary to news coverage and social media chatter, Hawn wasn’t fired for violating the state’s newly passed CRT ban. Really, he was dismissed for failing to adhere to the Tennessee “Teacher Code of Ethics,” a seldom-invoked but sensible state requirement for teachers to provide students access to varying points of view on controversial topics. Not only did Hawn fail to follow this code when he assigned the contentious poem and Coates’ essay from The Atlantic, which contains claims such as, “With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness,” he also later asserted that “there is no credible source for a differing point of view.” (Hawn recently denied making such a claim, though he declined to explain why the district attributed this statement to him.)

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Ohio Village Enacts Mask Mandate, Affects Local School

When a local school district decided not to require masks for students and staff, a small north central Ohio village decided to take matters into its own hands.

Gambier, a town of about 2,500 people about 60 miles northeast of Columbus, enacted a mask mandate during an emergency village council meeting Monday, encompassing nearly all public buildings, including an elementary school.

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Tennessee Man Arrested After Human Torso Was Discovered in Car

by Neetu Chandak   A Tennessee man was arrested after a police officer allegedly discovered a human torso in his car Sunday. Police stopped Dorrae Debrice Johnson, 29, around 3:30 a.m. Sunday for not staying in his lane on Interstate 40, WATE reported. Johnson reportedly drove away as the officer…

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Tennessee’s 2nd District: Tim Burchett Releases New Ad Promoting His Support for President Trump

Donald Trump, Tim Burchett

Knox County Mayor and Republican candidate for Congress in Tennessee’s 2d Congressional District has a new television commercial airing that promotes his support for President Trump.  This is Burchett’s second ad and it is airing on both broadcast and cable throughout the district. TIM BURCHETT “TRUMP” ad: Hey, I’m Tim…

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Tennessee’s 2nd District: Tim Burchett Reports Huge Fundraising Haul for Second Quarter

Tim Burchett

Knox County Mayor and Republican congressional candidate in the 2nd Congressional District had an impressive second quarter fundraising report according to a release from his campaign on Thursday. Burchett reports raising $225,000 during the most recent reporting period that ended on June 30th. To date Burchett has reported raising over…

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WWE Wrestler Jacobs Wins Knox County Mayor Primary by 17 Votes

WWE wrestler Glenn Jacobs has won the Republican primary for Knox County mayor by a margin of only 17 votes, WATE reported. The Knox County Election Commission says there are, however, a few provisional ballots, so the results won’t be official until next week. Jacobs, a former WWE wrestler aka “Kane,”…

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