Wednesday 14 April 2021

High school teacher is placed on leave after asking class 'How is the word n****r complicated?'

 A Houston high school teacher is under fire about a lesson plan that asked students to discuss the 'complicated' nature of the N-word, with the teacher writing the N-word out in full on the board.

Her decision to spell out the word shocked students and prompted at least one to take a picture.

The English assignment also had a picture of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur and a quote, which also spelled out the N-word.

A teacher at Stratford High School had the assignment' as part of a warm-up activity for her class on Monday.

'It was just really shocking at first because it was there on the board,' said student Karina Rodgerson to KHOU.

A shocking lesson in an English class in Houston is drawing fire from students and parents

A shocking lesson in an English class in Houston is drawing fire from students and parents

The prompt from the teacher was 'How is the word n***** complicated? How has it changed?' Students needed to answer in 75 words.

The Tupac quote alongside the prompt was, 'N****** was the ones on the rope, hanging off the thing. N***** is the ones with gold ropes, hanging out at clubs.'

Karina Rodgerson's mother was shocked by the teacher's inflammatory assignment.

Anita Rodgerson said, 'I would like to know, did this teacher not follow the system? Is there not a system in place? Is there going to be a system and what improvements can they make to the system?'

'That word didn’t need to come up on any screen, with any children of any color,' added Mary Daly to KPRC 2; her granddaughter was in the questionable class on Monday.

'A thinking human is all you have to be. You don’t have to be any color to understand that that was completely wrong of [the teacher] to do.' 

Pictured: Alum Marcel McClinton, who is 'very embarrassed' to be a graduate of the school

The teacher has been working at Stratford High School (pictured) since 2013

The teacher has been working at Stratford High School (pictured) since 2013

Teachers in the district go through diversity training, but that was not enough to prevent this incident, leading to the unnamed teacher being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

'A Stratford High School teacher has been placed on administrative leave given concerns with the professional judgment in her lesson planning and delivery during a warm-up activity Monday,' said a statement from the Spring Branch Independent School District.

'Inappropriate and offensive language was used, which the Spring Branch Independent School District does not condone and will not accept.

'We continue to investigate this incident and will take appropriate actions. We deeply regret and apologize this incident occurred.'

An email about the incident was also sent out to parents by the school district.

The warm-up activity was linked to the class starting to read 'Their Eyes Were Watching God,' which was written by Black author Zora Neale Hurston.

'It was shocking, inappropriate, inexcusable, any adjective you want to use,' Executive Director of Communications for Spring Branch ISD Terry Abbott said to KHOU.

'This was not a lesson plan that was approved in advance by anyone.' 

According to ABC 13, the unidentified teacher is white and has been working within the district since 2007, moving to Stratford High School in 2013.

'It makes me feel very embarrassed to have her as a teacher and to have graduated from Stratford High School,' said alum Marcel McClinton, who admits to previous problems with the teacher.

'I feel as though Black and brown students in her classroom are not respected or valued and I know that personally, because I had her as a teacher for a whole year.' 

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