A substitute teacher has resigned from a North Carolina school system following backlash for alleged comments to students, including that Martin Luther King Jr. was not assassinated but rather committed suicide.
Lisa Luten, the communications director for Wake County Public School System,, confirmed to USA TODAY on Tuesday that the teacher had resigned.
In an interview with the News & Observer in Raleigh, parent Billy Byrd said the incident began at Rand Road Elementary School in Garner when the substitute music teacher became frustrated that students weren’t following directions.
According to Byrd, students pushed back against the teacher’s false claim that King killed himself and wasn’t murdered. That’s when the substitute allegedly told Byrd’s 10-year-old son and other students of color that they would go to prison, based on the clothing they were wearing, Byrd told the newspaper.
“We always dress him with the best attire we can afford,” Byrd told local TV station ABC11. “For her to say that him having athletic wear or attire on was going to put him in a position to go to prison, that really bothered me the most.”
Byrd said he was proud of his son for standing up for himself.
“For her to assassinate his character because of what he was wearing is sickening,” Byrd told the News & Observer.
Byrd’s son also told him that the teacher invoked President Donald Trump’s name during the incident and said to the students that they weren’t true Christians if they didn’t support the president, the News & Observer reported.
King was assassinated in April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. The North Carolina teacher’s comments came during Black History Month in the United States.
Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
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