A substitute teacher has taken to TikTok to share his experience of being stared at and his presence questioned at the school he worked at. He says it’s most likely because of the color of his skin.
User @tommierusselljr says in his video that while he was on duty as an indoor observer at a predominantly white school for a day, he was asked by other educators what he was doing at the school, even though he was wearing an institution ID card.
@tommierusselljr_ I tried for the last time!
“I knew today was going to go left because they asked me to be a hall monitor,” he says. “And in most of these schools, these predominantly white schools, they ask me who I am, why I’m here, even though I have a nice little badge here that has my name and title on it. It’s always, ‘Who are you?’ Sometimes I wear this on my chest – most of the time. And they keep saying, ‘Why are you here?’ When they asked me, I knew it would be no different.”
While monitoring the same area – where he was deployed – for a few hours, @tommierusselljr said three school staff members stared at him before one of them approached him and asked him to explain what he was doing there.
“Finally, a friend waves me over,” he says. “I walk over to her, ‘Yes, how can I help you?’ [She says] “Um, well, can you talk to them, because they’re just kind of concerned, they don’t know who you are and why you’re here, and they just have a few questions.” let’s talk girl So I come into the room, ‘Hello, how can I help you?’ [They say], ‘Nothing.’ She said you need me because you wanted to find out why I’m here? Have you spoken to one? [assistant principal]? did you call someone Did you ask her? I said maybe you should.”
At the end of the video he says he’s done replacing it.
Some commenters praised his handling of the situation and criticized other school staff for their behavior.
“I love that you stood up for yourself because they would definitely do their own form of bullying,” wrote one commenter.
“Very revealing that instead of just assuming they’ve never met you before, instead of just assuming they’ve never met you before, they ask you why you’re there and introduce themselves as a normal person,” wrote another commenter.
“The way they tried to wave you down made me angry,” one commenter wrote. “If it’s that important to them, they can get up and come to YOU.”
The Daily Dot contacted @tommierusselljr via Instagram DM regarding the video.
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*Initial publication: May 28, 2022 at 12:35 p.m. CDT
Brooke Sjoberg is a freelance writer for the Daily Dot. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020.
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