Mary DeVoto, who has worked as a teacher for 41 years, was discussing Native American history with high school students at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School and somehow the N-word snuck itself into the lesson.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, DeVoto’s World History class was talking about racist sports teams names on Jan. 28 when she was explaining why the Washington Commanders’ former name was offensive.
Instead of just leaving it at that, DeVoto decided she needed a comparison. She told her students that the name was just as bad as the N-Word. Then said it out loud.
A student at the all-girls Catholic school caught it on camera while recording the lesson for later note taking. Once administration got their hands on the video, she was suspended the same day. The following Monday she was terminated.
“I can’t believe it fell out of my mouth,” DeVoto said according to ABC 7. She’s hoping for a chance to apologize to her class in person.
From the Sun-Times:
During meetings with the school administration, DeVoto said she used the N-word again while trying to explain the situation.
In a statement announcing DeVoto’s termination, the administration said the firing was made more necessary “because of a subsequent conversation with the teacher in which the same racial slur was communicated in its entirety several times despite clear and formal directives to stop.
“The N-word is never acceptable in any gathering of, or setting with, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas,” the school said.
DeVoto told the Sun-Times she was just trying to make things clear to administrators but would never use the word again.
“You can’t just talk about wonderful things in history, we have to talk about the underbelly,” DeVoto said. “But I agree, I did not present that lesson well and it wasn’t conducive to the learning experience for my students. I am mortified and want to fix it.”
“These actions were made necessary because of a subsequent conversation with the teacher in which the same racial slur was communicated in its entirety several times despite clear and formal directives to stop. The N-word is never acceptable,” the school said in a statement, ABC 7 reports.
DeVoto’s daughters created a change.org petition to push the school to give their mother her job back, according to the Sun-Times.