TULSA, Okla. — A teacher at a Tulsa charter school attended by the daughter of an unarmed black man killed by a white officer says the tragedy “lives and breathes” among her classmates in a moving essay she posted on Facebook detailing her experience helping students cope.
Rebecca Lee is a teacher at KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory. She wrote on Facebook Wednesday that she facilitated three small group discussions for students about the death of Terence Crutcher. Lee says one of the groups included sixth-grade girls who are classmates of Crutcher’s daughter.
“The tragedy lives and breathes among them,” Lee writes. “It could have been their father.”
Lee says a group of fifth-grade students spent the session crying and passing tissues to one another. She says a student in a group of 13- and 14-year-olds said other police shootings were quickly forgotten, but this one feels “real” because it happened “so close to home.”
Lee, who’s white, says she told the students, “We have different skin colors. I love you. You matter. You are worthy. You are human. You are valuable.”
She says she is sharing her experience because she has taught her students that “our voices matter and that our voices deserve to be heard.”
“I am convinced that if you can put yourself in the shoes of a child of color in Tulsa right now, you will have a clearer understanding of the crisis we’re facing and why we say black lives matter,” she wrote.
Lee posted the essay Wednesday evening. It had been shared more than 135,000 times by Friday morning.
Tulsa officer Betty Shelby is charged with first-degree manslaughter in Crutcher’s death.