IssuesLocal NewsKeller ISD Teacher Asked to Remove BLM Poster from Classroom Refuses

Keller ISD teacher Dan Grunewald refused to remove the Black Lives Matter poster and was sent home from Timber Creek High School on Tuesday.
August 27, 2021
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A Keller Independent School District (ISD) teacher, Dan Grunewald, was asked to leave school on Tuesday for the day after parents and students raised concerns about a Black Lives Matter (BLM) poster that he has hanging in his room.

According to a report by WBAP, Grunewald refused to remove the poster saying, “There are rules. It was a directive to take the sign down, and by not, I’m going against that directive. But it’s wrong. It’s wrong of my school’s administration, my principal, and my district to side with racism.”

He also pointed out that he has a poster supporting LGBTQ in his classroom but said that no one has asked him to remove it. 

Grunewald teaches animation, audio/video production, and arts of communication at Timber Creek High School. 

In response to the situation with Grunewald, Keller ISD released the following statement: “Keller ISD does not discuss individual personnel matters. District Board Policy EMB Local states that ‘teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal beliefs regarding political or sectarian issues,’ and the District has routinely asked employees to remove items posted on classroom walls that are considered expressions of personal beliefs. Keller ISD and Timber Creek High School encourage our teachers to create a classroom culture that respects diversity of our school community through a culture of understanding, and it is our expectation that they do so without visual representations of their own personal beliefs on classroom walls.”

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Keller’s student handbook indicates that it has adopted a standard complaint policy, which generally requires complaints to be filed with the principal, then escalated to the superintendent, and finally the school board as necessary.

Some critics of those who oppose the BLM poster in Grunewald’s classroom assert that another teacher at Timber Creek High School has a “Thin Blue Line” flag hanging in her classroom.

Keller ISD parent Christine Molloy has two students at Timber Creek. She supports the poster being removed. “I would like to see us keep politics and personal beliefs out of the classroom, I just want my kids just want to go to school, learn, and be with their friends,” she told The Texan.

Timber Creek student body president Zoe Mukendi started a petition on Change.org to support Grunewald’s display of the BLM poster. “Help me help the teacher that needs tremendous support right now and share everywhere you can,” it says. So far the petition has over 2500 signatures. The petition also features the Timber Creek logo.

Additionally, some students are planning a “blackout” in support of Grunewald and Black Lives Matter. A graphic is being circulated on social media among students at Timber Creek that asks them to “wear ALL BLACK on Friday, 8/27, in support of the teacher who[se] job was put on the line for my equality.”

No group or names are listed on the graphic as the organizers of the protest.

According to the student handbook, if a student wishes to distribute more than 10 copies of non-school materials, he is supposed to get prior approval from the principal or designee. This includes petitions and handbills “not developed under the oversight of the school.” Further, the materials “must include the name of the sponsoring person or organization.”

This section of the student handbook does not directly address social media posts that are the electronic equivalent of handbills, but Molloy believes that digital distribution should be handled similarly to physical distribution and following the same guidelines. Her children received information about the “blackout” on SnapChat. 

Instead of participating in the “blackout,” Molloy has encouraged her kids to “show unity with everyone at Timber Creek by wearing their school colors.” She would like to see a “Falcon Friday” where the students at Timber Creek can focus on what they have in common.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.