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.
Executive Director, WE WIN Institute
Education Justice Co-Chair, Racial Justice Network
Licensed ELA Teacher
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
Administrator TOSA: Special Education Coordinator
Counselor, Henry High School
Teacher and Case Manager
St. Paul Public School Board Member
Social Studies Teacher
Parent and Social Work Candidate
Bryant Hernandez Cota
Teacher, Secondary Math 5-12
Love First, Executive Director
Education Pathway Coordinator, Licensed Teacher, M. Ed.
Brianna Wilson, M.Ed
Licensed Teacher Special Education
Director, Check Yo’Self Health and Wellness Center, High School for the Recording Arts
Parent and Educator, High School for the Recording Arts
School Social Worker, High School for the Recording Arts
Educator, High School for the Recording Arts
English Facilitator, High School for the Recording Arts
Parent, Educational Advisor
HSRA, Kitchen Manager/Educator
Johnny Howard, Jr.
Student support, High School for Recording Arts
Advisor – High School for Recording Arts
Special Education Teacher, High School for Recording Arts
Director of Operations – High School for Recording Arts
Licensed Teacher Special Education, High School for Recording Arts
ELA Teacher, St. Paul Central High School