Bok Academy has been drawn into the ugly aftermath of last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In a video purportedly taken at the Lake Wales school, a teacher tells middle school students that paid members of the Antifa movement, rather than loyalists to President Donald Trump, carried out the riot. The video has drawn thousands of views after being shared on Instagram and elsewhere.
The website TMZ.com posted a story about the incident on Thursday with the header “Exclusive content.” The article said the teacher was a substitute and has been fired.
The TMZ story quoted Bok Academy Principal Damien Moses as saying, “… the teacher’s conduct was immediately dealt with following the incident from earlier this week. We met with her and she has been dismissed not only from our school, but also from the Lake Wales Charter School System.”
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An employee at Bok Academy said Friday that Moses was not available and directed The Ledger to the Lake Wales Charter Schools office. The Ledger left voicemails with that office.
Teacher brings up Capitol attack, makes false claims
A roughly two-minute video identified as taken at Bok Academy was posted on an Instagram with the name @knowyourracists. A caption says the incident occurred in a first-period language arts class and that the teacher began discussing the Capitol attack without any prompting.
In the video, the teacher stands at the front of the class and declares that Antifa members led the invasion. Antifa is a name used for a loose movement of people with a shared left-wing philosophy but is not considered an organized group.
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The teacher begins by stating incorrectly that three of the attackers had already been identified as “Antifa members.”
“All summer long, Antifa members started violence,” the woman says. “This is an another example. They were paid to be there. They were paid to do violence so that Trump supporters would look bad.”
A male student calmly asks about Trump backers and members of the far-right Proud Boys group taking part in the assault.
“No,” the teacher replies. “In fact, there was a video showing Trump supporters trying to stop the people breaking in.”
The male student notes that many attackers wore “Make America Great Again” hats or carried flags bearing Trump’s name.
“Anyone can put on a MAGA hat,” the teacher responds, her voice rising. “When you’re paid to be there and cause a riot, they wanted to look like Trump supporters so they wore Trump hats and carried Trump flags.”
The teacher continues: “Also, people have said that this was an attempt to overthrow the government. Show me the video where those thousands of supporters were carrying guns or weapons of any kind.”
A female student then says something that can’t be discerned as the teacher speaks over her.
“I’m just giving you the facts,” the teacher says. “You cannot overthrow a government without guns.”
A boy then says, “This is just your opinion.”
The video ends just after the boy is heard saying, apparently to another student, “You want me to come with you?”
42,000 Instagram views and a variety of comments
It isn’t clear if the students then left the classroom.
The video has drawn nearly 42,000 views on Instagram. A mix of comments appeared beside it.
“Nothing like getting fired for telling the TRUTH,” one commenter wrote. “You commies are the real terrorists!!!”
But others supported the Bok students who questioned the teacher.
“So proud of these kids for speaking up!” someone wrote. “It’s not easy to challenge an authority figure, especially as a kid. The kids really are all right.”
As of Friday afternoon, many participants in the Capitol attack had been identified as Trump supporters. One, John Sullivan of Utah, is known as a liberal activist and founder of a group called Insurgence USA.
As The Ledger has reported, some prominent Republicans in Polk County claim that those leading the Capitol attack were not Trump supporters but adherents of Antifa or members of Black Lives Matter. They have presented no evidence to support those claims.
Loyal to Trump:Polk County GOP leaders doubt Capitol riot details
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, has made the same unsupported claims during congressional debate, prompting widespread criticism.
Gary White can be reached at [email protected] or 863-802-7518. Follow on Twitter @garywhite13.