Florida: Teacher Asked to Avoid Religious Topics After Probe

Ezekiel Edmonds

A high school teacher in Royal Palm Beach was recently asked to avoid religious discussions with his students inside the classroom so he can steer clear of all controversies in the future.

An investigation was carried out after Ezekiel Edmonds’ principal received complaints from students that he often referred to contentious teaching material while conducting his science classes, thereby talking about religion, race relations and conspiracy theories. During the investigation, which took off in February this year, Edmonds was barred from teaching classes but a spokesperson for the school district said last month that he is expected to return to the classroom next year. It is unclear whether he will return to the same school or another.

Revelation of Edmonds’ controversial lectures surfaced earlier this year when an unidentified student from his class posted an audio recording online that eventually went viral and started to appear across conservative news websites. As evident in that recording, Edmonds can be heard discussing the detrimental effects of urban gentrification and theories related to Christ actually being a “black deity”.

While talking of urban gentrification, Edmonds is heard drawing parallels with “what they did in Nazi Germany when they created the ghettos.” He then goes on to explain how Europeans co-opted black religious figures, including Christ and his apostles, to have them converted to white characters so they could be used in Christianity.

The investigation that the school carried out refused to reveal whether the voice heard in the recording belongs to Edmonds but a number of his students told the media that it was in fact his.

After Edmonds received his warning, superintendent Robert Avossa released the following statement:

“Part of my 90-day entry plan includes understanding our policies and procedures for these type of issues. I will work with key stakeholders in the district to understand our process and make the necessary recommendations to ensure the best possible outcomes for students.”

According to the policy followed by the concerned school district, teachers must avoid religious topics inside the classroom. While school records show that Edmonds faced no disciplinary action after the investigation, it said clearly, if he failed to abide by the warning, it might be considered as insubordination and thus lead to his termination.

Photo Credits: WPBF News - West Palm Beach 

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