A 15-year-old student was suspended for recording a video of her teacher using racial slurs circulated social media, according to The Washington Post. The student’s mother criticized the district for punishing her daughter for exposing the teacher’s alleged misconduct.
Mary Walton, a Glendale High School sophomore, recorded her Geometry teacher while he was in debate with his students about the n-word last Thursday. Why was a math teacher doing a side lesson on the n-word? Your guess is as good as mine. “When a Black person is using it towards another Black person, how is it not still a derogatory word?” he asked in the video.
A student then clapped back at him, warning if he wanted to keep his job he should stop saying it. The teacher then responded, “I am not calling anyone a n—-er. I can say the word.” His eyes then pivot to Miss Walton whom he orders to stop recording. When she refused, he sent her to the principal’s office where she received a three-day suspension.
Read more from The Washington Post:
Mary and her mother, Kate Welborn, 44, are challenging the punishment and demanding the district apologize. Mary’s lawyer, Natalie Hull, said that the sophomore was essentially acting as a whistleblower by collecting evidence of an authority figure’s wrongdoing and that punishing her will have a “chilling effect” on students inclined to do so in the future.
Dan Shelley, president and CEO of the Radio Television Digital News Association, who grew up attending Springfield public schools, soon sent a letter to Superintendent Grenita Lathan expressing “serious concerns” the association has about Mary’s punishment. Mary was exercising her First Amendment right when she started recording — to hold a public official in a position of power to account, no less, according to Shelley.
The irony is that Mr. Math Class did end up losing his job, according to an announcement from Springfield Public Schools via KY3 News. Though, the video sparked a conversation between online users about teachers being allowed to say the word in the “appropriate context.”
The only time I’ve heard the n-word in the classroom was by two Black women instructors both teaching Black history/culture classes. This teacher’s “if white people can’t say it, why can Black people say it?” rant was no lesson.