Students: Teacher missed classes after #BlackLivesMatter sit-in

Students at North Springs Charter High School say they believe a teacher was suspended for taking part in a student sit-in, but school officials aren’t saying.

Fulton County School officials have not verified whether North Springs Charter High School teacher Tamra Jenkins was suspended for participating in the sit-in on Sept. 23.

Reached by phone in the middle of the day on Sept. 27, Jenkins declined comment.

Jenkins was absent at least a week after students staged the sit-in. The student protest was sparked by a report that a school administrator had told one student the Black Lives Matter movement was a terrorist group. District officials said that was a rumor. Students have not been able to verify it, either.

Jenkins teaches multicultural literature and Advanced Placement language arts at the school. District officials first said on Sept. 26 that no teacher had been suspended to their kn0wledge. On Sept. 27, officials said the principal had not yet responded to requests on the matter.

Rachael Simpson, 17, a senior in one of Jenkins’ classes, said the teacher was among a small number of adults who participated in the sit-in and had not returned to school in the days following the protest.

“Jenkins never misses a day of school without letting her students know what’s going on without leaving a lesson plan,” Rachael said. “We didn’t have a lesson plan.”

Senior Ananda Armstrong said the sit-in was for unfair treatment. She said the administrator accused of calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization was in meetings and could not have spoken to the student who made the accusation.

The administrator, who was not identified, missed several days as well, Ananda said.

“We all suspect (Jenkins) got suspended because she sat with us,” the teen said Friday, referring to the protest. “I haven’t had my teacher all week.”

The sit-in was one of several events at metro Atlanta high schools related to race, including a sick-out by about 850 students at Gwinnett County’s Archer High School, who say they missed class because administrators responded slowly to racist comments made by white students on social media.

On Sept. 23, some Arabia Mountain High School football players took a knee at their game during the national anthem. They were taking their lead from San Francisco 49ers back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick, kneeling the past few weeks to voice his frustrations over police brutality involving black shooting victims and white police officers.

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