High school student suspended after recording teacher using racial slur
A high school student has been suspended for three days after she recorded her teacher using a racial slur in class.
The Missouri student decided to record the incident on her phone on 9 May during her geometry class at Glendale High School in Springfield, US.
According to NBC News, the teacher allegedly used the racial slur more than once, which is when the student, Mary Walton, decided to take a video on her phone, the teenager’s lawyer Natalie Hull said.
The school district has not yet publicly identified the teacher who used the N-word twice in the video.
In the video, which lasts about one minute, another student objects to the teacher’s use of the word, to which the teacher responded: “I’m not calling anyone a n*****. I can say the word.”
NBC reported Springfield Public Schools as saying the teacher is no longer employed with the school system
The student was suspended for three days, prompting the teenager’s lawyer and mother to demand that the district apologise and remove the suspension from her school record.
Ms Hull said the teenager was suspended under a policy prohibiting students from recording faculty members unless they get consent before filming.
In an interview with NBC News on Tuesday, the lawyer added: “It is absolutely impressive that the 15-year-old girl knew something was happening and stood up in the face of it and said: ‘I’m going to document this. I’m going to stand up for what’s right, no matter what. And I am going to make sure that this is brought to light’.”
‘She’s worried about how she’s going to be treated’
The lawyer said the student was only trying to provide evidence of the “monumental wrong” she was witness to.
She added: “Mary was trying to provide indisputable documentation of the monumental wrong she was witnessing in class. Mary does not understand why she got punished, because she did the right thing.”
Ms Hull said the teenager is concerned about returning to class after her suspension and is worried about the potential backlash and treatment she’ll face.
A spokesperson from the school district, Stephan Hall, said in a statement the teacher is no longer employed and defended punishment for students under similar circumstances.
“Student discipline is confidential, per federal law, and Springfield Public Schools cannot disclose specifics related to actions taken,” Mr Hall added.
“The student handbook is clear, however, on consequences for inappropriate use of electronic devices.
“Any consequences applied… would also consider if minors are identifiable in the recording and what, if any, hardships are endured by other students due to a violation of privacy with the dissemination of the video in question.”
‘I am incredibly proud of her’
Mr Hall said the school district stands by its handling of the incident and added: “We want our schools to be safe and welcoming learning environments. When students have concerns, they should follow the appropriate steps for reporting.”
The student’s mother, Kate Welborn, 44, said her daughter’s decision to record was morally correct.
“What any parent wants is to know that they have raised a child that has a good moral compass,” she said.
“My daughter demonstrated that, and I am incredibly proud of her, and so is her father and her extended family.”
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What did the school say?
On 9 May, the school’s headteacher put out a statement regarding the “offensive” and “derogatory language” used by the teacher during class.
Dr Josh Groves said: “We are aware of a Glendale teacher using offensive, derogatory language during class today. A video of the comments is being circulated and we have received several calls from concerned parents.”
The headteacher said the comments in the video were “inappropriate” and “inexcusable.”
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A statement put out by the school said: “While details of personnel matters must remain confidential, our response has followed the guidelines outlined by our Board policy and reflects the district’s zero-tolerance for this type of conduct.”