Teacher Resigns After Being Accused Of Calling Black Students ‘Field Slaves’
A North Carolina teacher has resigned after being accused of making racist remarks towards Black students.
The lesson in question is said to have taken place at Winterville Charter Academy in Greenville, North Carolina in September, when 8th-grade students gathered to learn about the US Constitution.
On September 24, Principal Annastasia Ryan sent a memo out to parents that admitted that a ‘racially insensitive lesson’ had taken place and that action had been taken.
Calls and social media questions about the lesson led to an investigation from local NBC affiliate WITN-TV, which spoke with parents who described their children being singled out by the teacher during the lesson.
Kanisha Tillman, whose child was in the classroom, relayed some of the comments allegedly made by the teacher as she said, ‘She had them raise their hand during a constitutional lesson and reminded them that if it wasn’t for the Constitution, they would be her slaves. Her field slaves.’
In the September memo, the school said two ‘racially insensitive words’ were reportedly used by multiple children in the classroom ‘without appropriate redirection along with inappropriate response from the educator’. It added that after an investigation, the teacher was ‘supported in turning in her resignation and will not be returning on campus’.
In the wake of a social media outcry, Ryan sent out another memo on October 5 that assured the school ‘immediately took action’ as soon as it was made aware of the incident.
Per WITN, the memo read, in part:
The result was a teacher resignation and the children involved being disciplined in accordance with our Parent and student handbook.
These situations concern us, too. Our school culture is built on one of acceptance, love, and respect to serve all children and their families. The inner workings of our school are surrounded by intentional effort to eliminate implicit and explicit bias.
Ryan also acknowledged another recent situation of a racially insensitive student remark, and said that too is being investigated.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Tillman said her son had told her of other racist incidents at the school after she received a text from another parent suggesting a particular teacher treated Black and white students differently.
Relaying her son’s account, Tillman said, ‘A white student had called a Black student a monkey. When the Black student educated him on that being racist and him not liking it and not to call him that and asked the teacher for support, the teacher turned around and said to him, ‘Oh, it’s OK. We’re all a little bit racist’.’
In response to the remark, the Black student is said to have called the white student a ‘cracker’, to which the teacher responded with the threat of writing the Black student up for disciplinary action, according to Tillman.
In another instance detailed on a private Facebook page devoted to the school’s parents, a group of Black girls were trying to explain why being called a monkey is racist when a teacher walked up to them and allegedly said, ‘It’s OK, You’re all my little monkeys.’
Tillman claimed children had complained about the racist references, but no action was taken.
National Heritage Academies, a charter school management company that oversees Winterville Charter Academy, said in a statement the ‘school leadership team acted immediately upon learning about a racially insensitive lesson and student remarks, and is currently working to address ongoing concerns from parents that racially insensitive student remarks continue’.
‘While student and staff privacy rights prevent me from sharing specific details, what I can share is that we will not tolerate racism in our school community and will continue taking swift action that addresses these issues,’ the statement added.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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