Excerpt: Matt Hawn, a teacher at Sullivan Central High School, in Blountville, Tennessee, assigned an Atlantic article by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The First White President,” which argues that Donald Trump was elected on the strength of white grievances. A parent complained about the slurs used in the piece and accused Hawn of not presenting multiple points of view. The central office issued an official reprimand.
In April, to address the trial of the Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, Hawn showed his students a performance by the poet Kyla Jenée Lacey, titled “White Privilege.” A couple of weeks later, Hawn received notice that the director of schools wanted him fired. Hawn is now contesting his dismissal. He claimed that he never told school officials, “There is no credible source for a differing point of view” than Coates’s assessment of Trump, but he would not elaborate on why the district’s letter of reprimand states that he did.