US state of Missouri: Teacher uses racist term several times in class – student films him and is suspended

A Missouri student has been suspended from class for three days for filming a teacher using a racist term.

US state of Missouri: Teacher uses racist term several times in class – student films him and is suspended

A Missouri student has been suspended from class for three days for filming a teacher using a racist term. According to media reports, the incident happened on May 9 at Glendale High School in Springfield, in the American Midwest. According to this, during a geometry lesson, the teacher repeatedly used the N-word, a derogatory and insulting expression for dark-skinned people. The 15-year-old Mary W. then took her cell phone and filmed the teacher. In the approximately one-minute video, the teacher pronounces the N-word twice.

Another student can also be heard on the recording objecting to the use of the term. The teacher, who the school district has not publicly identified, replies, "I don't call anyone a N[...]. I'm allowed to say the word."

Three days after the incident, Mary W. and her mother were informed of the suspension, reports the Associated Press news agency. The reason behind the punishment, according to her attorney Natalie Hull, is a policy that prohibits students from taking photos of teachers without their permission.

"Mary tried to undeniably document the monumental injustice she witnessed in class," Hull told NBC News. "Mary doesn't understand why she was punished because she did the right thing."

According to the student, the teacher used the N-word "a total of six times," two of which she recorded on video. W. told the newspaper "Springfield News-Leader" that she wasn't quite sure how the topic came up in the class. "I know two of my classmates were talking and he just jumped into their conversation," she recalled. "He said something like, 'Why can you say that and I can't?'" The conversation took place "in the middle of class" on Tuesday and she recorded the 55-second video at 11 a.m.

First of all, the recordings show the students' tables, shoes and backpacks. Then the camera pans to the front of the classroom and shows the teacher talking to the students. The faces of two other children can also be seen, including a girl who audibly gasps and covers her mouth before asking the teacher, "Why are you saying that?"

Eventually, the teacher sees that Walton is filming and tells her to put down her phone, to which she replies "no." He instructs her to go to the school office, but doesn't insist.

W. reported to the "Springfield News-Leader" that she immediately wrote to her mother and sent her the video. "I sent it to my mom first because he threatened to send me to the school office," she explained. "I personally didn't feel like I did anything wrong and I think he just threatened to send me there because he knew he was in trouble."

However, she did not report the incident to the school management and did not publish the video on social media. "I didn't upload it, I just shared it with a friend," she said. "It spread very, very quickly."

The teacher was reportedly put on leave by authorities shortly after the incident. He has now resigned from his position.

"We are aware that a Glendale teacher used offensive, derogatory language during class today. Video of the remarks has been circulating and we have received several calls from concerned parents," the principal, Josh, said in a message Groves to the high school staff and the students' parents. "I want you to know that the comments made in the video are inappropriate, inexcusable, and do not meet professional standards for Springfield Public School employees." Groves announced "appropriate action" and that the district has "zero tolerance for this type of behavior."

District spokesman Stephen Hall defended Mary W's suspension, according to NBC News. Disciplining of students is confidential, so he cannot provide details about the actions taken. "However, the student handbook is clear on the consequences for inappropriate use of electronic devices," Hall said.

Mary W. cannot understand her punishment. "I don't know what I did wrong," said the 15-year-old. "I feel like if I hadn't taken the video he probably wouldn't have been held accountable like he is now so I don't know why I'm being penalized." Despite her suspension, she doesn't regret making the video: "I'm glad I took it."

Quellen: Associated Press, NBC News, Springfield News-Leader.