A high school teacher is on paid administrative leave after students filmed her allegedly saying the N-word repeatedly, after one student reportedly said the word to another student in class. The teacher then defended her actions by allegedly saying that she once had a black nanny.
The Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin released a statement on Monday regarding cellphone footage of the teacher’s conduct. “The district was made aware of this incident today and has launched an investigation. The employee has been placed on paid leave while the investigation is completed, however, no additional details can be shared due to personnel privacy rights.”
CBS 58 exclusively published the November video of the unnamed teacher at Bradford High School in Kenosha. “I can say it,” she tells the class, before saying the word multiple times.
Parent Kristal Manthe’s son and his little sister are in the teacher’s Italian class. “We trust these people to teach our kids,” she told CBS 58. “She brought up that when she was younger she had a nanny who was of color, and that people often called her nanny that, so she just became comfortable using that type of language. …
“She needs to apologize to the class and the students she made [to feel] uncomfortable,” Manthe told the station.
A female student told CBS 58, “That’s not a word anyone should use in school, let alone a teacher.” The student said some of her classmates weren’t sure how to react — some were silent and others laughed. “It’s not a class that I feel like I want to participate in anymore,” the student said.
On Tuesday, members of the organization Kenosha Coalition for Dismantling Racism met with the school board, where co-founders Adelene and Derrell Greene, whose children graduated from Bradford High School two decades ago, communicated their surprise at the school’s slow response.
“On Monday, I alerted the superintendent, who wasn’t aware of the video,” Adelene tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Imagine my surprise when I learned this happened in November.”
According to ABC 15, the Kenosha Coalition for Dismantling Racism co-founder Derrell Greene told board members on Tuesday, “Our concern is the total lack of action from the administration. This should have been addressed immediately. Especially when several students stated how uncomfortable they were in the classroom. A teacher should not make her students uncomfortable particularly when you’re talking about something as sensitive as using a racial slur.”
Adelene tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the community expects an apology from the teacher. “We don’t want to see her lose her job over this type of comment,” she says. “We’ll see what the investigation shows, but for now, she deserves the benefit of the doubt — she may not be trained in cultural awareness. My impression from previous conversations with the school is that it lacks diversity training. The district should provide that.”