Imagine walking into your first day of school after spending the summer burying your beloved older brother who was murdered in the line of duty. You’re a kid just trying to navigate grief, knowing that your Police Officer older brother made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of your community.
As you enter the classroom, you’re greeted with a poster proudly displaying “Defund The Police” in your English/Language Arts class.
Your brother, Noah Shahnavaz was killed in the early morning hours of July 31, 2022. Shahnavaz served in the U.S. Army for five years, and had then served with the Elwood Police Department for just 11 months.
Your family had already met with school administrators advising them of your circumstances, and you were looking forward to a return to normal life after this terrible tragedy.
This poster, citing a list of pros and cons to “defunding the police”, a popular progressive movement after the George Floyd protests and riots of 2020, naturally causes you, the brother of officer Shahnavaz, serious distress.
Marina Gibson, a 26-year-old ELA teacher and the sponsor for the mental-health club for Fishers high school, says that she displayed the poster as a piece of student work from the previous year and had forgotten to take it down.
She…FORGOT…to take it down.
Now, I’m no teacher, but as the child of a teacher I know for a fact that every summer teachers have to completely gut their classrooms, only to set them back up for the new school year. I’m not buying this excuse for one second.
According to several students and officers at the Police Department, Gibson (the teacher) has had issues with the police before. Last year, while police were attempting to investigate a disturbance by an older student suspected of drug use, Gibson reportedly yelled “George Floyd!” and “police brutality!” as the officers were attempting to detain the suspect. Officers’ body camera footage has yet to be released.
Questions have also risen concerning Gibson’s role as a sponsor for the mental-health club, “Bring Change to Mind.” Given the amount of communication concerning the younger brother’s returning to class and Gibson’s interest in special consideration for mental health, one would ask how she missed taking down a “Defund the Police” poster before Noah’s brother returned.
The school district, which the fallen officer attended during his youth, have done their best to try to work with the family over this obvious and blatant display of bias in the younger brother’s classroom. Allegedly this teacher has since apologized…but again, I don’t believe her.
This “teacher” who is involved in mental health is doing all of the wrong things. Mental health professionals are taught not to show bias, period. When counseling clients your own personal thoughts and opinions should go out the window, which arguably should be the same for teachers.
If this were a history class MAYBE, maybe it would make sense, or at least be relevant…but come on. This is a language arts class.
It’s clear her desire was to radicalize these students, and push her own thoughts and opinions onto innocent minds.
To the family of Officer Shahnavaz, we stand with you and continue to keep you all in our prayers. We hope that your younger child is able to find some peace after this additional heartbreak.
(information obtained from “The Chalkboard Review” article by Tony Kinnett)