BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Teachers in Birmingham are demanding an apology from Senator Tommy Tuberville, and they aren’t the only ones responding to remarks he made about inner-city teachers.

While commentating as a guest on Donald Trump Jr.’s podcast “Triggered” Thursday, Tuberville said “Most of them are inner city and I don’t know how they got degrees. I don’t know whether they can read or write.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin tweeted at Tuberville Friday, stating “Stop dog whistling –it’s beneath the office you hold.” Congresswoman Sewell also came to teachers’ defense on social media.

“They don’t deserve to be maligned by their senior senator,” she stated via a Tweet.

Local teachers are sounding off too. Many educators are angered and in disbelief that Tuberville is questioning their ability to read and write and teach children these skills.

“I don’t know why he came after us but Tommy Tuberville, we can read, we can write, we can do math and we have teachers who are chemical engineers,” says Dodi Traylor, a teacher for 28 years, around 20 of those being with Birmingham City Schools.

Traylor says she was deeply angered by Tuberville’s comments on inner city teachers.

“We are well-educated, we are called to do this job and for him to say that, and I’m a history teacher, social sciences teacher, and if I remember correctly, he didn’t even know the branches of government,” says Traylor.

Tuberville said on the podcast people who can’t read or write can’t live in a country like this and not have somebody help them through life.

“The COVID really brought it out about how bad our schools are and how bad our teachers are,” says Tuberville.

Traylor says inner city schools are often talked down upon and there are countless meetings where different programs are introduced but not followed through on, or money is spent in other areas not helping inner city schools. She says in Harlem City Schools, what helped kids’ test scores go up was having stable mentors who volunteered with the students.

“People that want to come in, that want to work with them, that want to mentor them, they decide to spend the money on micromanaging us,” says Traylor.

The Alabama Education Association released a statement saying:

“Hearing Senator Tuberville’s recent statements is disheartening to the men and women who choose education as their profession and work daily in Alabama classrooms. Our teachers put their total dedication and time into ensuring students can succeed and thrive – and as a former coach at an Alabama university, he should know the rigor and steps it takes for teachers to receive their degrees and certification. AEA and many Alabamians know who our teachers are and the work they do. Their heroic actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and what they continue to do has not gone unnoticed and are commendable. As many teachers prepare for a well-deserved summer break, we hope they do not take Senator Tuberville’s statements to heart and understand it for what it is – a political soundbite.”