An Apex, N.C., middle school teacher has been suspended after video surfaced on social media showing him saying a racial slur and comparing a seventh-grade student to a slave.
The incident happened Wednesday in Apex Middle School’s “Cougar Den,” where students finish school work.
In the video, the teacher, identified by WRAL as Dick Wesenduck, could be heard saying, “Did I call you a nigger? No. I said you were being controlled, by kids. That is exactly what happened to the slaves. They were controlled by their owners. You’re letting him control you, and you’re the one who’s getting in trouble.”
Ayona Wilson told WTVD that her 13-year-old son was humiliated by the incident, which was posted to Snapchat. She has since pulled him from the school.
“It’s more so hurtful than anything because I would never want my children to expect that,” Wilson explained. “[The teacher] should know what to say, what not to say to these children. He also had to know some of the things he says can hurt people and that is going to stick with my son forever.”
Dayon Warren, Wilson’s son, said that the teacher got upset Wednesday when a bunch of kids started laughing in class. Dayon said that the teacher used the slave-master analogy as a means of saying that children should listen to adults. Yeah, that was a definite fail on the instructor’s part.
“I didn’t know what to say. He started calling me a slave,” Dayon said. “He could have said it different instead of using that analogy that I was his slave.”
The Wake County School District is investigating. The school’s principal sent out a letter to families detailing the incident:
I am calling to inform you about an incident that occurred in our school yesterday.
This morning I became aware of a video showing a teacher arguing with a student. I immediately contacted the WCPSS Human Resources department because the language used by the teacher raised concerns. They, in turn, suspended the teacher pending an investigation.
While we are not at liberty to discuss confidential personnel information, please be assured that the district takes any complaints against personnel seriously and is committed to fair and thorough investigations and resolutions of such matters.
In addition, I want to make it clear that we have high expectations for behavior and policies addressing codes of ethics for the teachers in our building. We strictly adhere to these expectations and enforce these policies.
I regret having to share this news with you, but I assure you that I am committed to maintaining a standard of excellence for our school. Please contact me with any questions.
However, the teen’s mother is not satisfied with the school’s response.
“That’s not satisfactory for me,” Wilson said. “I feel as though he should not be working with children.”