An elementary school teacher proudly wore a shirt that read “Columbus Was A Murderer” in front of her classroom of fifth-graders. However, after some expressed their outrage, the school gave a surprising response.
When Emma Howland-Bolton isn’t teaching fifth grade at Clippert Multicultural Honors Academy in Detroit, she can be found advocating for the dismantling of capitalism, the annihilation of the nation of Israel, and radical feminism. She has admittedly worn other politically-biased messages and discussed them in her classroom. Unfortunately, some of her personal views are bleeding over into her classroom.
The elementary teacher caused a controversy when she wore a sweatshirt with the words “Columbus Was A Murderer” to her classroom in order to have a conversation with her 10 and 11-year-old students, she told WXYZ. Unsurprisingly, her move stirred more than just debate among the impressionable young minds.
“I wanted to wear this shirt to spark discussion,” she insisted. “I was informed that my shirt was my opinion, and I countered with ‘It is a fact,'” she added.
Howland-Bolton claims that she wears such shirts to “spark discussion,” but her conversation pieces only ever lean to one political side. She also justifies her message to students by insisting “it is a fact.” Still, she’s educated enough to recognize that her discriminate inclusion of certain facts and omission of others will easily skew students’ views.
Howland-Bolton was eventually asked by a school administrator to change her outfit, as it didn’t coincide with the school’s business-casual policy. However, after her wardrobe’s brazen message caused a backlash, the district had an unexpected response.
According to The Blaze, a spokesperson for the district ultimately determined that the sweatshirt’s message wasn’t an issue but expressed that Howland-Bolton should’ve made a request to the administrators before wearing the questionable shirt to school. The district stated that the shirt was not “submitted as any lesson plan to be pre-approved,” suggesting that message may be considered a curriculum change.
Howland-Bolton faced no disciplinary action, and the incident was shrugged off by the administrators. Still, many are concerned that the teacher is still spreading her political views to the young children she is charged with educating.
While Christopher Columbus made colossal strides for Western colonization, a recent political wave has ensured that the Italian navigator is solely judged for the brutality inflicted by the men under his command. Disturbingly, this forsakes his extraordinary feats that shaped our world.
Truthfully, like most of the prominent men and women of his time, Columbus and his crews committed grave offenses against the indigenous people. For example, there’s no question that he captured and transported many as slaves back to the Spanish Crown. However, to paint one of the most monumental figures in history with only the brushstrokes of his sins is intellectually lazy.
The fact of the matter is that Columbus was a deeply conflicted and imperfect man. In his journal, it is clear that he was grieved by and openly condemned the crimes against humanity that happened under his watch. Although his lamentation doesn’t absolve him of his decision to fulfill his agreement with Spain, his internal conflict shows a side of the voyager that his detractors don’t want to be revealed.
“There are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand, and for all ages a good price must be paid. I assert that the violence of the calumny of turbulent persons has injured me more than my services have profited me; which is a bad example for the present and for the future. I take my oath that a number of men have gone to the Indies who did not deserve water in the sight of God and of the world,” Columbus wrote.
Unfortunately, critics of Columbus are too quick to condemn him by his flaws and, in turn, too resistant to acknowledge his accomplishments. Students have the mental capacity to both excoriate his faults and praise his achievements. The fact that a teacher is selectively editing history and judging by today’s standards the giants who paved the way while ignoring his incredible accomplishments is deeply disturbing.