A Black history teacher at Menchville High School in Newport News, Virginia says he is preparing to sue a former student for multiple racist acts the student allegedly committed against him, according to WAVY-TV 10.
What the teacher claims is nearly opposite of what allegedly occurred at a Chicago high school when a teacher was suspended for hanging a Black doll in front of his classroom.
Joel Mungo has been a history teacher at the high school for the past 21 years and claims he has never faced any racism previously at the school
Mungo told the television news show that starting in October 2021 someone would leave a banana in the doorway of his classroom once a month in the exact same spot. After the sixth instance, Mungo said he had enough and reported the problem to the Menchville administrators who pulled up surveillance cameras and found the 10th-grade student who they believed to be responsible for the bananas.
Mungo stated, “It was clearly a deliberate act,” according to WAVY-TV 10.
He continued, “I gave the student a chance to come clean. I asked him, ‘Hey did you do this?’ He said ‘No,’ he played dumb, ‘No idea what you’re talking about.’ So I said ‘OK, go down to the assistant principal.’ I’m the only Black teacher he has. He has six other teachers. No other teachers were involved.”
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Mungo says the student’s parents were contacted. He was placed on a two-day suspension and removed from Mungo’s class.
“Initially when the parents were contacted, the parents seemed to be truly embarrassed. Then when the student was suspended and the parents were informed, then the parents were irate. It’s 2022. Just to have some type of hate crime is absolutely ridiculous. I was sickened. I was highly upset. So upset, I took the next day off. I didn’t go to work that Friday,” Mungo recalled.
Mungo also said, “I’m just fed up with the racism around, especially at our academic institutions. Coming from the HBCUs and other colleges, the bomb threats, the nooses, the bananas and now it’s streaming into public education. It’s time to take a stand and just let people know it will not be tolerated. I know I’m not tolerating it. You have to speak up. You can’t allow it to go on because then it will just continue to go on,” according to WAVY-TV 10.
We have to admit, suing a student seems off. Attorney Ali Shahrestani told Newsweek that he has never heard of an instance in which a teacher sued a student. Shahrestani also said that if he was Mungo’s attorney, “I would advise the teacher to consider a lawsuit against the school for supporting a hostile work environment via its negligent failure to dole out a reasonable punishment. A two-day suspension is what a student should expect when he cheats on a test or gravely insults another student,” he said.