A middle school teacher was suspended for asking a student, “How would you like it if I called you a n*****?”
The unnamed educator at Hamilton Middle School, which honors Velma Hamilton, the African-American civil-rights activist, allegedly said the word to the only black student in class while she was talking to another child in October, reported the Cap Times of Madison, Wis.
According to the girl’s mother, the hateful word was then repeated, with “one of her peers from the same classroom taunting her, calling her the N-word,” the student’s mother told the nonprofit news outlet Madison365. “It kind of normalized it, and now students have called her this.”
The mom asked her friend Sabrina Madison, who founded the Progress Center for Black Women, to accompany her to a meeting with school Principal Jessica Taylor.
“What I do know is that when me and Sabrina went in, the assistant principal and the principal [were] very apologetic,” said the student’s mom, per Madison365. “They kept apologizing. They said that the teacher obviously admitted it. I think she said she was trying to teach [my daughter] something. [I’m] trying to figure out how calling someone a racial slur could ever teach them anything.”
The girl hasn’t returned to school in a week. “What am I supposed to do as a mother? I can’t keep her in that environment where she doesn’t even feel safe,” her mother said, according to Madison365. “[My daughter] spends a lot of time with her, the teacher. The bond that they built is completely broken now. The trust that they had is completely broken. That’s what saddens me is that the very student that she took the time to know and understand and grow with is the very student that she took five seconds to tear down to the point where she doesn’t even want to go to school.”
According to the Cap Times, on Tuesday night, Principal Taylor sent a letter to parents providing vague details: “It involved the use of inappropriate racial language by a staff member, which has been reported in the media today.”
“First and foremost, I know we all agree that a situation like this at our school is deeply concerning and unacceptable,” she wrote. “As soon as we were informed, we immediately followed our protocol to investigate and take follow-up action.”
The Cap Times also reported that the teacher, who is being investigated by the Madison Metropolitan School District, was “apologetic and emotional” about what had occurred. There was also discussion of moving the student into a different class; however, her mother was concerned that would further stigmatize her daughter.
“You [the teacher] are not the victim in this,” the mom said, according to Cap Times. “You don’t get to be the victim in this. I’m so tired of the tears — you were not tearful when you said the N-word multiple times.”
Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach Sabrina Madison for comment, and representatives of Hamilton Middle School and the Madison Metropolitan School District did not reply to Yahoo Lifestyle’s interview requests.
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