A teacher at Baltimore’s Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School has been fired after she was caught on video screaming at a classroom full of middle school students and using a racial epithet.
The school is mostly black, and the teacher is white.
After yelling at a student to get out of her class, she then went on to say, “Who else wants to freaking leave?” and tell the other students they’re all getting zeros for not doing their work.
Finally, she shouted, “You’re idiots! You have the chance to get an education, but you want to be a punk-ass n****r who’s gonna get shot!”
Students look stunned at the teacher’s behavior and are heard in the video asking her to please stop saying that.
Baltimore schools CEO Sonja Santelises said that after she watched the video of the incident, which took place on November 16, 2016, she had the teacher fired.
“In the current climate, we at city schools are very, very clear about where we stand with hate speech, any kind of obviously discriminatory language,” she said.
This isn’t the only racist incident that’s happened at U.S. schools since the election of Donald Trump as president.
In Laude, Missouri, two white students were disciplined after yelling “Trump, Trump, Trump,” and telling black students to go to the back of the bus. In response, 150 students walked out of school to protest the racist actions, saying they didn’t feel the administration was taking the issue seriously. The students said that they felt incidents of racial harassment should be punished more seriously.
Officials in a suburban Maryland town are looking into the case of a white student who posted a photo on social media of herself in blackface with the caption “im [sic] finally a n****r.”
In Loudoun County, Virginia, students in the middle and high schools have been heard chanting, “build the wall” and “drain the swamp,” sound bites from the Trump campaign trail.
“What we’re seeing is nervousness on the part of our English-language-learning population,” says Wayde Byard, a spokesman for Loudoun County Public Schools. “A lot of them have escaped war-torn places, and they are terrified of going back to those places.” He also said that the comments he’s heard about have been more gloating than confrontational, and that they tend to happen in hallways and cafeterias rather than classrooms.
“Most of the time people are saying these things flippantly,” Byard says, “and they think it’s funny. They’re not realizing how it might affect people.”
These are just a few of the racist incidents that have been brought to the public’s attention. Undoubtedly, many more go unreported due to fear of reprisals.
Schools are struggling to figure out how to manage the upsurge in overt harassment against students of color, immigrant and refugee students, and LGBTQ students.
School officials and teachers all over the country are struggling to come up with ways to teach the election after Trump’s victory and to make their schools a safe place for students of all races.
Baltimore’s Santelises says of the incident in her city, “It reminds us that we have to be vigilant and proactive about making sure people understand that we value diversity and are intolerant about intolerance.”
How are you managing harassment of diverse populations in your classrooms and schools? Have your students told you about racist harassment? What are you doing to keep your schools and classrooms a safe place for students of all races, sexual orientations, and gender identities? Please share your thoughts in the comments.