Outrage is brewing in one California community after a middle school English teacher was recorded by an 8th-grade student repeatedly uttering the n-word during a lesson on Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”
The odd behavior from the unnamed Sequoia Middle School teacher erupted after a student asked her how to spell the n-word, according to local station KTLA.
“The student asked the teacher how to spell it, and out of nowhere, she just starts screaming at the student, trying to force him to say it. He was getting uncomfortable. He was shaking his head and starts to put his head down,” a witness said.
According to the witness, the unnamed teacher then returned to the front of the classroom and lectured the students about how they were too sensitive over the n-word.
“The teacher got in front of the class and she was saying that the word is just an English word and everybody can say it if she wants to, it’s in the dictionary, and people are oversensitive over the word,” the witness said to local station KABC.
Some of the teacher’s behavior was recorded by the witness.
A Sequoia Middle School language arts teacher is being criticized after she was caught on video repeatedly using a racial slur.
According to students, the class was reading a Mark Twain novel when someone asked the teacher about the spelling of the N-word. https://t.co/RTI3rjRWNl pic.twitter.com/u2ZYrcOfOd
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) April 6, 2023
The witness’s video eventually made it to social media, where a parent shared it to a local Facebook page on March 31st.
“This took place at my Daughters school in Fontana at Sequoia Middle School teacher repost please stop racism and verbal violence bullying this teacher should be fired please help share this,” the parent’s post reads.
View the original post below (*Offensive language):
This took place at my Daughters school in Fontana at Sequoia Middle School teacher repost please stop racism and verbal ￼violence bullying this teacher should be fired please help share this.
Posted by Bianca Gibbons on Friday, March 31, 2023
“Say it. Ni–er. You asked me how to spell it. So go ahead and pronounce it. Pronounce it after me. Ni–er. Ni–er,” the teacher can be heard pestering a student in the video above.
Other parents are now calling for the unnamed teacher to be fired.
The teacher went way too far.
— Robert H (@RobertH909247) April 6, 2023
I hope she loses her license to teach. This is unacceptable.
— Geo Gonzalez (@GeoGonzalezES) April 6, 2023
She needs to be fired!! Even if it was in the text book it the way she handled it with sarcasm !!
— Jessica Guerra (@JessicaGuerra63) April 6, 2023
@Sequoia_Eagles this was enough to make a student uncomfortable. I really hope you take action and assure your students are learning in a safe environment.
— Ariana B.K. (@AriYuriCutie1) April 6, 2023
Sensitive or not, in this day in time we all know not to use that word in jest or otherwise. She’s a professional and is expected to conduct herself as such. Kids can be a handful but some of these adults are worse than kids.
— Stacey Castaneda (@febywood) April 6, 2023
The school district has, for its part, responded to the video by launching an investigation.
“The District has been made aware of a video circulating on social media depicting a recent incident at Sequoia Middle School. During this incident, an exchange occurred between students and a teacher regarding a derogatory term encountered during a lesson related to a Mark Twain novel,” the district said in a statement.
“While we acknowledge that this derogatory language comes from a novel first published in the late 1800s, and that historical context is important to consider when discussing literature, the District does not condone the language that was used in the video or using that language outside of the context of discussing the novel,” it added.
Meanwhile, some critics have come to the teacher’s defense by arguing either that she’d just been responding to a question, she’d just been using a word that’s used everywhere else, or that the students had set her up.
The N word is all over the Mark Twain novel. What’s the issue?
— Grey sky (@skyisgrey12) April 6, 2023
They were reading a book with that word in literature class. She wasn’t calling anyone that name
— jluvisions (@jluvisions) April 6, 2023
Did she say “YOU asked me how to spell it?” And don’t they have the book right there in front of them, or is she just reading it to middle schoolers? Without cross-examination, we only get one side of the story.
— Joshua Saint (@1550Mesa) April 6, 2023
So the problem is that a teacher was saying the word that the students were all reading in their books as part of the curriculum out loud. How do we expect to make it as a species?
— Son Of Sheev (@SonOfSheev) April 6, 2023
Let me start by saying the teacher is the wrong. But, why is the student asking how to spell it if it is in the book? Any chance he was trying to be funny for classmates and this was not the first time? The teacher just snapped b/c this has been going on all year? Just guessing
— abartender (@Abartendergs) April 6, 2023
According to KTLA, “The teacher has since been allowed back into the classroom and reportedly said she did not care about the students’ or parents’ opinions on the incident.”
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