On Tuesday February 22nd, 2022; social media posts began circulating that alleged a Portales school teacher was fired for teaching from a controversial book.
Tuesday evening a slide show was also shared on social media, claiming students in a freshman English class had debated topics discussed in the book, The Hate U Give. The book “sparked some controversy within the school which then led to parental complaints,” the slideshow alleges. “The Hate U Give examines the way society uses stereotypes of black people to justify violence and racism against them,” it further states in the slideshow.
Portales Municipal Schools Superintendent Johnnie Cain addressed the social posts this past Wednesday, stating that the teacher, Kelly Cradock, resigned without pressure from the school and the book in question was approved by the district and the state.
Superintendent Cain released the following statement:
We know that rumors and speculation have been spreading on social media about PHS English teacher Mrs. Kelly Cradock being terminated or fired from her position. A rumor is exactly what it is. Mrs. Cradock was not fired, she resigned from her position. To help ease the transition to the new teacher, we made the decision to put another highly qualified teacher in her classes today. The rumor mill also states that she was fired for teaching a particular book in her classes. Since she wasn’t fired, there is absolutely no truth in that statement. This particular book has been available at Portales High School and Portales Junior High Schools for the past several years and it has never created any issues or objections. Although she did resign, we cannot comment further about her decisions as this is a personnel issue.
Friday morning, students gathered in front of the Portales High School main entrance to protest the departure of Ms. Cradock. 50 to 65 students attended the organized “walk out”, some holding signs in support of the English Teacher. After 15 minutes, school administrators told the students to either head back to class or off of the campus. A large group of the students then left campus and made their way down town to Portales City Hall.
While at City Hall, protest organizer a Portales High School Junior, Sierah Ibarra addressed the protest, saying, “Ms. Cradock deserves to tell her story. There has been mistreatment from other teachers in the past and I think me and the other students are sick of it.”
Ms. Cradock was contacted for a comment, but has refrained from making any kind of statement pending advice from legal counsel.