Teacher accused of using racial slur sends email to parents

Published: Dec. 18, 2018 at 5:12 PM CST
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After allegedly using a racial slur, a staff member at Jefferson Middle School was removed from the classroom on Dec. 17.

On Wednesday, NBC15 obtained a copy of the email the teacher accused of using the racial slur sent to parents. The teacher apologized for using the foul language in the classroom stating "I should have remembered how powerful the spoken word of a teacher is to a student."

The email states that a student swore out loud, and after the teacher had directed him to return to his seat, she repeated what she thought he had said. That phrase included a profanity and the N-word.

The teacher then quickly realized what she had said was inappropriate.

"I should have known that word is as serious as saying the word 'bomb' in an airport, regardless of your intent."

The email from the teacher says she accepts the consequences, and is leaving Jefferson Middle School.

"I got lost in the moment of frustration and I made a mistake in how I did it."

The teacher wrapped up the email to parents by stating, "I don't want to disappear without thanking you and hoping you will share this lesson with your students. We all, not just Caucasians like me but all of us of all races, must realize that the use of the word is like using the word "bomb" in an airport."

Principal Tequila Kurth sent families a letter on Monday afternoon, describing the incident.

"As soon as I was informed of the incident, the staff member was removed from the classroom, sent home, and we began investigating. We also met with students who were impacted and contacted families," the letter said. "We will continue to follow up with students, including our BSU (Black Student Union), to ensure they feel safe. If this is found to be true, immediate and appropriate action will be taken using all available options for recourse."

The letter also emphasized that the use of racial slurs in unacceptable in schools.

Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham sent NBC15 this statement on Tuesday:

"What happened is unacceptable, no matter what the context or the circumstance. The hurt and harm that such an act causes a student, a family, and in turn, an entire school and community, is astoundingly deep, and in no way can we, as a community, accommodate or make excuses for actions that hurt the very students we have dedicated our lives to help. This is not who we are in MMSD.

At school, we communicated with students, staff and families right away. We've provided immediate supports to everyone, including restorative circles at school. And we're staying in close contact with parents and students.

As a school district, we must commit to being healers and protectors for the students and families we serve and ensure that our schools and classrooms are places that value, affirm and uplift our students. We are continuing that commitment to our anti-racist work and will take issues head on."

This is the fourth time in two months that a staff member at a Madison school allegedly used a racial slur. Similar incidents have happened at Hamilton Middle School, East High School and West High School.