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Missouri teacher no longer employed by school district after using the n-word in class

By Michelle Watson, CNN

(CNN) — A teacher in Missouri who was initially placed on administrative leave after a video circulating on social media showed them using the n-word at least twice in class “is no longer employed,” the Springfield Public Schools district said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday.

On May 9, the principal of Glendale High School sent a letter to staff and families addressing the language used by the teacher, calling it “inappropriate” and “inexcusable.”

“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,” Principal Josh Groves said in the letter. “I want you to know that the comments expressed in the video are inappropriate, inexcusable and do not meet the professional standards for Springfield Public Schools employees.”

In the video obtained by CNN from a lawyer for the student who recorded the classroom incident, a student can be heard cautioning the teacher to stop saying the word saying, “As a teacher if you want to keep your job, this isn’t a threat … ”

The teacher can then be heard saying, “I’m not calling anyone a (bleep). I can say the word.”

A statement from the school district emailed to CNN Tuesday said the teacher “is no longer employed by Springfield Public Schools.” The teacher has not been identified by the district.

“The teacher who was initially placed on administrative leave following the situation at Glendale High School is no longer employed by Springfield Public Schools,” the statement said.

“We received a resignation from that teacher,” a Springfield Public Schools spokesperson said Tuesday.

Mary Walton, “a sophomore at the Springfield Public Schools high school, took the video of her geometry teacher after he interrupted a conversation between students and talked about why he could not use a specific racial slur when people of color could do so without causing offense to each other,” family attorney Natalie Hull’s office said in a statement.

Walton said the teacher “used the actual word multiple times before she began recording the video,” according to Hull’s statement.

Hull told CNN that Walton was subsequently suspended for three days. Walton’s mother was notified Friday about the suspension, Hull told CNN in a phone call Tuesday.

The student handbook specifies that those who inappropriately use an electronic device like a phone in class for recording or publishing images of staff, faculty or other students can be subject to up to three days of out-of-school suspension for a first offense.

In its statement, the school district said, “Student discipline is confidential, per federal law, and Springfield Public Schools cannot disclose specifics related to actions taken. The student handbook is clear, however, on consequences for inappropriate use of electronic devices. Any consequences applied per the scope and sequence 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.”

“The school policy of disciplining students to teach them to behave in the appropriate manner is not in line with their own actions,” Hull said in the statement. “Mary saw a teacher do something wrong and she documented it. Language can be harmful, and Mary captured proof of her teacher, a person who is supposed to protect children, harming them through his use of a racial slur.”

“If he had been hitting a student – or worse – would the school have reacted the same? Frankly, this school is exercising a chilling effect on all of the students by sending the message that they will get in trouble if they capture evidence of their teachers doing something wrong,” Hull added.

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