Letters to the Editor: Anti-racism belongs in the classrom, but not with an ‘I can’t breathe’ T-shirt

El Camino Real Charter High School
And El Camino Real Charter High School student on campus in April.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: A teacher at El Camino Real Charter High School wore a T-shirt that said, “I can’t breathe.” Some people think this was acceptable, but what if the shirt had said, “Blue lives matter” or “Abortion stops a beating heart”?

I think shirts with slogans should be left at home. Instead, an English class is great place to discuss literature related to racial problems in this country.

Need some ideas? Read “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” and other books by Mildred D. Taylor. Then let the students express their thoughts and opinions in conversation and in writing.

The teacher should be the facilitator as the students learn how to express their own thoughts.


Lynda Estes, Winnetka


To the editor: A 9ninth-grade English teacher received threats for wearing a shirt that said “I can’t breathe”?That is curriculum, if you know ninth-grade English.

I am merely a high school math teacher, and even I know that the major reading in many 9th grade English classes is “To Kill A Mockingbird.”And you know what the driving story line is? In 2020 terms, Tom Robinson can’t breathe.

So, if you want your daughter to “go to English class and learn about English,” you want your daughter in this class.

David Lynn, Agoura Hills


To the editor: I am an attorney and former English department chair at Canoga Park High School, which is in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The job of teacher is to teach citizenship as well as the basics of our subject matter. Knowledge of national reckonings and thematic learning are as much a part of the English class as the ABCs.

Anti-racism is an important topic to be included in the school curriculum in any class.

Jacqueline Melvin, Sherman Oaks