GOSHEN, Ky. – Kentuckiana police officer Dave Hamblin thinks his daughter’s honors English teacher at North Oldham High School is creating a generation of cop haters.
He came to that realization when the teacher refused to take down student artwork displayed as part of a supposed lesson on the famous Harper Lee book “To Kill a Mockingbird” and social justice. The image depicts two scenes, one with the year 1930 showing a KKK member pointing a gun at a black man above the Confederate flag, the other with the year 2015 and a police officer pointing his gun at a small black child in a hooded sweatshirt above the American flag.
“It’s comparing a race-based ideology of the KKK to that of professional workers who serve their country day in and day out,” Hamblin told WDRB.
Hamblin said he was alerted to the artwork after his daughter texted him a picture.
“When I saw it, I could see immediately why she didn’t feel comfortable with it,” Hamblin said. “I didn’t feel comfortable with it.
“I wanted to see it come down.”
The father contacted school officials, who basically ignored his request to take down the artwork, which is based on the controversial painting by Michael D’Antuono and inspired by the Trayvon Martin case. In D’Antuono’s work, a KKK hood wearing police officer points a gun at a Trayvon look-alike, who holds out a packet of candy for the officer. In the background, the American flag is blown out in the center to reveal a Confederate flag underneath.
The Oldham student artwork was created last year, but the teacher reportedly liked it so much she put it back up when a new crop of students started the assignment this year.
“When discussing social injustice, people will likely be offended by some topic,” Oldham County Schools spokeswoman Tracy Green told the news site. “The drawing is a student’s artistic representation based on the lens through which the student viewed that issue and the student has a First Amendment right to share that opinion.”
Green told WHAS the student artwork is “a great teaching tool” but also acknowledged that the district has received several complaints from first responder parents.
“This isn’t the student posting it now,” Hamblin said. “This is the teacher coming out and saying I feel like it was a good example of how race relations has evolved and it’s not.”
District officials have essentially left the decision on whether or not to display the student artwork up to the teacher, who has not removed it, according to the news site.
The situation convinced Hamblin to take his objections to Facebook, where his post was shared more than 5,100 times over the last few days.
“This Honors English class read the Pulitzer Prize winning book, ‘To Kill A Mockingbord,’ by Harper Lee, and were supposed to do art, based on the book. The book is a beautiful piece of art describing social and familial dilemmas of the early 1900s, and has NOTHING to do with the hatred filled propaganda coming from some in this country today,” Hamblin wrote. “The ‘art’ is not from a student in the class, it was from a student last year and the teacher liked it so much she placed it back up on the all.
“My daughter is not unlike other children of first responders. She fears for my safety every day, and believes me to be a man of honesty and courage,” he continued. “What this propaganda creates, are future cop haters, which endanger me and 800,000 other courageous protectors.
“We speak of tolerance, we speak of changing hostile environments, we speak of prejudice, and we speak of racial relations, yet, when it comes to hostility toward police, their families, and profiling them through bigotry we are expected to take it. I will not, nor will my child.”
The post provides the schools address and phone number – 1-502-228-0158 – and asks those who agree with Hamblin to contact school officials to voice their concerns.
And judging by the comments to Hamblin’s post, there are plenty of parents on his side.
“That is evil at its finest,” Eddie McQuaid posted. “This is what is wrong with the country.”