RAYMOND, Miss. (WJTV) – Students and parents are upset after a beloved history teacher was removed from Raymond High School without an explanation from school leaders.
Students at Raymond High said African American Studies teacher Mrs. Lawson made sure everyone felt comfortable and accepted in her classroom.
“We had a teacher that was very special to a lot of students. She was very respectful of pronouns, identities, any expression you wanted to be, and she did a lot for a lot of the students,” said Raymond High senior Josie Bowles.
Students said they got a message on Friday that Mrs. Lawson could not come back to the school. They said it all started when a student was being denied participation in homecoming activities for wanting to wear a tuxedo instead of a dress. To show support, the teacher sold t-shirts that said, ‘He, She, They. Respect whichever I say. #NormalizeAcceptance.” A few days later, they said Mrs. Lawson was removed.
“She was one of the people that stood up for me, so that I could participate in Homecoming like everybody else was and wear the things that I wanted to wear. They haven’t told us anything about why she’s gone or where they sent her.”
Lawanda Polk-Allen’s daughter is in Mrs. Lawson’s class and said the teacher made a huge impact on her daughter. Polk-Allen made a petition, hoping that it leads to at least an explanation. She said she has been calling the school for days but has not been able to get any answers.
“There’s a teacher shortage in the state of Mississippi and she was a certified teacher, and the class subject that she taught is a required course for the students. We have not gotten any type of communication stating the teacher has been fired, removed from the classroom or anything of that nature to tell us who is now teaching the class for our students,” said parent, Lawanda Polk-Allen.
The Hinds County School District sent WJTV 12 News the following statement:
“This matter is being misrepresented on social media and what you are reading. We cannot discuss personnel matters.”
They also said the teacher is still employed with the district.