SYCAMORE – Several Sycamore District 427 parents are voicing opposition to a Sycamore teacher's decision to outfit her virtual avatar for her Google classroom with a Black Lives Matter t-shirt, according to a public Facebook post dated Thursday.
In the post, which is no longer viewable on Facebook as of 8:20 p.m. Wednesday, April Dazinis, a D-427 parent, called the shirt "BS," with the post garnering two shares, 34 likes and 68 comments as of Wednesday.
"So apparently a 7th grade teacher at Sycamore Middle School thinks this is ok to push on her students?!" Dazinis wrote in the post. "Leave this BS out of these young kids lives!!!"
The teacher with the avatar is Coni Stacner, according to the post, a seventh grade social studies teacher. As of Friday, according to the post, Dazinis said the teacher's avatar still wore the shirt, though she'd shared her opposition with district officials and encouraged others to do the same.
On Tuesday, when asked about the post and parent reaction, Superintendent Steve Wilder said it was a matter being handled internally.
"We're aware of the concerns and addressing it internally, addressing our policies and procedures," Wilder said. "When it comes to anything involving students and personnel, it's confidential. But it's important to note we're aware of the concern and following up on it.
"The only other thing is we recognize there are many different perspectives to any single issue, the Black Lives Matter movement included," Wilder continued. "We want to be respectful of all those and we're handling things appropriately, which again goes back to our policies and procedures."
The comments on the social media post were overwhelmingly supportive of Dazinis' opinion, with many saying politics should stay out of classrooms, and chastising the teacher's choice.
"I’m an educator and refuse to enforce my political side on any of my kids," said Kahlia Nikkole, whose profile says she lives in Peoria. "I would not be a happy parent if I saw that in my kids classroom! Unfortunately the mass majority of educators are left and get pushed by unions to vote certain ways. Well guess what, I’m my own person, I will think, and vote for whomever I want! I do my research and know what the truth is and what lies are being spread!"
Dazinis wrote about teachers pushing their beliefs onto students, mentioning ANTIFA - an abbreviation for anti-fascist and not an actual organization.
"[Y]eah well I have a feeling alot[sic] of the teachers NOT all but alot[sic] push their own personal beliefs towards the kids," she said. "I mean look at Antifa, alot[sic] of them are teachers!!!! But I'm going to be keeping a close eye on what she is being taught this year! This teacher that did this is a social studies teacher!"
In early June, a local Black Lives Matter group held a march in Sycamore, one of the most well-attended with more than 600 participants, with participants calling for classroom curriculum to include Black history more than just one month per year. The sentiment has been echoed across DeKalb County over the summer by local activists.