No teaching license for Castile’s killer—an open letter from Black parents, educators 

It has recently come to our attention that Jeronimo Yanez, the former Saint Anthony police officer who killed Philando Castile, a Black motorist, has applied for a substitute teacher’s license. 

We were further dismayed to learn that he has been quietly teaching Spanish part-time at a parochial school. Needless to say, it is shocking and traumatizing to know that a former police officer who unjustly killed an innocent Black man would dare assume another position of authority over children. 

We stand in solidarity with the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board in their decision to deny Yanez’s application to teach on moral grounds. We would add to that the likely traumatic and psychological impacts to Black children placed in Yanez’s classroom. 

Our community continues to collectively grieve over the senseless police killing of Philando Castile. Children of all racial backgrounds, and particularly Black children, were heartbroken over the killing of Castile, given his own role as a cafeteria supervisor within St. Paul Public Schools. 

Additionally, Yanez’s presence has the potential to create an unwelcoming environment for Black teachers, who already struggle with finding a safe environment in which to teach. This is counterproductive to retaining Black teachers. 

It is a travesty of justice that Yanez was not held accountable in a court of law for his egregious actions. Instead, his reckless behavior resulted in a $3 million settlement for which the City of St. Anthony was responsible. Although this was a financial loss for the City, the loss to Castile’s family is incalculable. 

In light of the above, we respectfully request that the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board affirm its decision to deny a teaching license to Jeronimo Yanez. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Signed, 

Titilayo Bediako
Executive Director, WE WIN Institute
Education Justice Co-Chair, Racial Justice Network

Nafeesah Muhammad
Licensed ELA Teache​r​
Educators 4 Excellence -MN, Deputy Director of Campaigns
Education Justice Committee Member, Racial Justice Network

Nekima Levy Armstrong, Esq.
Executive Director, Wayfinder Foundation
Founder, Racial Justice Network

Sharita Benson
Administrator TOSA: Special Education Coordinator
MTSS Facilitator

Alex Leonard
Counselor, Henry High School

Alexis Mann
Teacher and Case Manager

Chauntyll Allen
St. Paul Public School Board Member

Cherie Goudeau
MA, MFT

Anthony Richie
CTE Teacher

Adewale Adenodi
Social Studies Teacher

Jarahia Mann
Parent and Social Work Candidate

Bryant Hernandez Cota
Student

Maya Brown
Parent

Abequay Peake
Parent

Haben Ghebregergish
Teacher, Secondary Math 5-12

Satara Strong-Allen
Love First, Executive Director

Margaret Sullivan
Educator

Tameika Williams
Education Pathway Coordinator, Licensed Teacher, M. Ed.

Brianna Wilson, M.Ed
Licensed Teacher Special Education

Charlnitta Ellis
Director, Check Yo’Self Health and Wellness Center, High School for the Recording Arts

Brieana Peery
Parent and Educator, High School for the Recording Arts

Halina Gill
School Social Worker, High School for the Recording Arts

Willie Adams
Educator, High School for the Recording Arts

Ionia Hamer
English Facilitator, High School for the Recording Arts

Daniel Lee
Parent, Educational Advisor

Rafael Williams
HSRA, Kitchen Manager/Educator

Johnny Howard, Jr.
Parent

Tonya Lewis-Frost
Student support, High School for Recording Arts

Rajine Williams
Advisor – High School for Recording Arts

Matthew Lennon
Special Education Teacher, High School for Recording Arts

Matthew Brown
Director of Operations – High School for Recording Arts

Darryl Young
Licensed Teacher Special Education, High School for Recording Arts

Kimberly Colbert
ELA Teacher, St. Paul Central High School

2 Comments on “No teaching license for Castile’s killer—an open letter from Black parents, educators ”

  1. It’s people like all these who signed that letter that keep people down mistakes were made
    The kids are only or would be traumatized because of haters who keep the blame game going !
    He needs to work and at least he wants to work unlike all that are living for free and just blame
    Cops can’t win
    So glad my kids never went to public schools!

    1. He didn’t make a “mistake” such as spillig milk, he spilled Mr. Castile’s blood with wreckless disregard for his life, his partner, and his stepchild! And stop with the strawman argument; nobody’s stopping Yanez from working; the education board is (and the writer) is sanely stating that he shouldn’t working anywhere near Black children, nor Black adult education staff. That’s a logical conclusion, similar to not wanting child molesters in educational environments. And your racist strawman about lazy Blacks is par for the course for racists when they want to deflect from reality.

Have an opinion? Share it below.