A middle school student in Fontana, California, asked his teacher to help him with a word in a book he was reading for his English class when his teacher began demanding he say the word, which is a racial slur.
The Sequoia Middle School eighth-grader was reading “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain when he came across the N-word. The teacher was seen on video captured by one of the student’s classmates repeatedly ordering him to say the word despite him appearing uncomfortable using that type of language.
The teacher claimed the slur is just a word and that it is included in the dictionary, and that he should be able to say it.
The student’s classmates said they were also uncomfortable with the exchange.
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Some of the students told Fox 11 that the teacher, who is from another country, may not have understood the word can be offensive, while others said she should know to avoid using the word.
The student who recorded the video was pulled out of the classroom after her mother raised the issue with school officials.
Other students in the class said the teacher still brings up the exchange. They said she stands by her actions.
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In a letter to the school’s family and staff, the Fontana Unified School District said it has been made aware of the incident.
“While we acknowledge that this derogatory language comes from a novel first published in the late 1800s, and that historical context is important to consider when discussing literature, the District does not condone the language that was used in the video or using that language outside of the context of discussing the novel,” the district’s letter reads.
“Fontana Unified is currently investigating this situation,” the letter continues. “While we cannot provide additional detail at this time, please be assured that the District takes this and all reports of demeaning language seriously, addresses the matter promptly and takes any necessary action.”
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