Gwinnett parents target teacher’s Black Lives Matter poster

Add this share
School officials in Gwinnett County told a teacher that her Black Lives Matter poster was a “disruption to the learning environment.” She keeps it up in part because her child is LGBTQ.

Paige McGaughey (image), an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Crews Middle School in Lawrenceville, placed the poster in her class in late August. She wanted to show Black students that she is an ally in the fight for racial justice, according to the AJC.

“All children matter to me,” she said. “As the mother of a gay child, I wish more teachers had embraced my child’s ‘differences’ in school. If they had, middle school may have been a bit easier for my child.”

Two parents complained to the school’s principal about the poster in the background of a video conference with students. The principal told McGaughey about the complaints but did not ask her to take down the poster, according to a district spokesperson.

“Our employees do have the same civic responsibilities and privileges as any other citizen, including actively supporting causes,” Gwinnett County Public Schools spokesperson Sloan Roach told Project Q Atlanta.

“However, that is not usually done in the workplace, as it can become an effectiveness issue if it creates a disruption to the learning environment,” she added.

Parents thought the teacher was indoctrinating their children, and they worried she would only teach “Black stuff,” McGaughey told the AJC. She told 11 Alive that she only wants to create a welcoming atmosphere.

“I have things in my room that support the LGBTQ community, students of different faith,” she said. “True learning can’t take place if students don’t feel like you care about them.”

Everton Blair, the first person of color and first openly LGBTQ member of the Gwinnett County Board of Education, supported McGaughey.

“Any teacher who wants to assert that Black Lives Matter is doing an uncontroversial act of basic decency,” he told Project Q Atlanta.

More than a dozen students and teachers sent messages thanking the teacher for the poster, according to McGaughey. She declined Project Q’s interview request.

A Google News Initiative’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund grant made this story possible.

Screenshot via 11Alive


LGBTQ Atlantans push to ‘free Stone Mountain from the Confederacy’

LGBTQ activists, lawmakers and other elected officials are speaking out, launching organizations and backing legislation to rid Georgia of its Confederate symbols — including...

It got better: 10 LGBTQ victories that changed American history

It’s easy to ignore those who paved our way, and better to appreciate life in context of history. This week, we pinpoint LGBTQ milestones that changed LGBTQ rights in the U.S.

Georgia health agency wants to expand PrEP pilot program

The Georgia Department of Public Health wants $230,000 written into the state budget. The funds would expand a pilot program providing PrEP to those...

The best LGBTQ things to do in this weekend

Spin toward the end of the month with good vibes and good LGBTQ ATL events. It's a time of year that's kind of like...

Georgia lawmakers avert HIV crisis with millions in new funding

Georgia lawmakers pumped an additional $15.44 million into a program for low-income people living with HIV, preventing a crisis that could have created a...