A public school enrollment employee allegedly insulted prospective students’ names in an email.
According to the nonprofit news organization Chalkbeat, while intercepting online applications for the Denver Public Schools district, the employee passed the time by reading “the plethora of incredibly creative names that come across our desk.”
“Please know that these have all been verified by birth certificates,” read the email obtained by Chalkbeat. “I know there are books out there, but some of our families have gone to great lengths … beyond any book.”
The students and parents in the email have traditional African-American names and with lengthy or atypical spellings. “I think my next child will be Tequila Ridgeback…what do you think?” the employee reportedly wrote. “Now that’s a spelling I didn’t think of.”
The employee also mentioned a parent who used the word “sexy” in her email address, writing, “Do you think she uses this for job applications?”
A district spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “Denver Public Schools is committed to ensuring all members of the DPS community are treated with dignity and respect. Our policies and practices reflect our commitment to addressing matters of racism, bias, and social exclusion. It is extremely important that all of our students and their families know that students will receive the support they need to learn and thrive in a safe and welcoming environment. District officials are aware of this allegation and are investigating. Because personnel information is confidential by law, we cannot provide further details at this time.”
School board member Angela Cobián told Chalkbeat, “Growing up with people constantly mispronouncing and renaming me with both my first and last name, and knowing the intention behind why my parents named me what they named me, highlights the disgust I felt when I read the email.”
In January, superintendent Susana Cordova apologized for an employee in the human resources department who emailed that teachers on H or J visas would be reported to immigration authorities if they joined a teacher’s strike. Cordova said the district had asked immigration lawyers whether a strike would harm immigrant teachers and was advised to inform the U.S. Department of Labor of the strike. Cordova said the employee “misinterpreted” directions.
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