Florida Elementary School Teacher Sends Home Spelling List With Racial Slur; Barely Bothers to Apologize, Mom Says

WESH-TV screenshot

It’s a day ending in “y,” so naturally someone did something racist at a school in this country.

Today we turn to a Sanford, Fla., elementary school where a teacher didn’t bother to spell-check the take-home spelling list for students, so in place of the word “bigger” was the word “nigger.”


When Terry Day, the mother of 6-year-old Rosa, a first-grader at Hamilton Elementary, saw the word, she was shocked.

“My daughter said to me, she said, ‘I know that word and I know what that word means, but is this supposed to be on my paper?’” Day told WESH-TV.


Even the 6-year-old knows what’s up.

At any rate, Day decided to go to the school to speak with the teacher, but the response she was met with was not what she expected.


“I said, ‘Well, you didn’t spell-check your word? You didn’t proofread your word before you sent that out?’ And [the teacher] said, ‘It is a word.’ And I didn’t like the attitude behind that one,” Day said.

When the issue made its way up to the school administrators, the teacher explained herself by pointing out that the letters “B” and “N” are right next to each other on the keyboard.

Which, you know, is a fair argument. But not spell-checking your work as a teacher and then apparently having a nonapologetic approach to the error when confronted by a parent?


School spokesperson Michael Lawrence released a statement:

The district is aware of the unintentional and unfortunate mistake regarding the typo on the spelling words worksheet. The teacher involved has taught at Hamilton Elementary for many years and is extremely remorseful about the situation. The school has already fixed and updated the spelling words list and redistributed to the students in that particular class. In addition, a memo has gone home with students sincerely apologizing for the error.


But just like the teacher’s apparent reaction to Day’s complaint, the memo that was sent out to parents apparently didn’t even contain any reference to the word or any apology for it. The memo reads:

Dear Parents: Please be advised there was a misspelled word on the blue spelling list I sent home yesterday. Please throw the blue list away and refer to this list for the next six weeks. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please contact me if you have any concerns.


Day didn’t let the phrasing of the memo go unchecked.

“‘Inconvenience’ means sorry for the bother. So, I mean, it was not apologetic, it was not ‘sorry.’ Even when I met with her in person, she wasn’t sorry, wasn’t apologetic, like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I would have removed this.’ No! It wasn’t like that,” Day said.


That being said, Day is not looking for the teacher, who has been employed by the school district for more than 16 years, to be punished. She said that her daughter likes the teacher, and Day truly believes it was a mistake. Still, however, the mother believes that every one of the students in the first-grade class and their parents deserve an apology for the oversight.

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Breanna Edwards

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi