A North Carolina teacher has stepped down after telling Black students in her class that they would have been her “field slaves” if it wasn’t for the Constitution.
But a parent said this isn’t the first racist incident at Winterville Charter Academy; evidently, there have been several.
In September, the Daily Beast reported that the eighth-grade English teacher had Black students raise their hands on Constitution Day and then said had it not been for the Constitution, they would have been her “field slaves.”
Rightfully so, the incident caused parents to share their outrage on social media. On October 5, the charter school’s principal, Annastasia Ryan, sent out a letter to families informing them of the situation.
“As soon as we were made aware…we immediately took action,” she wrote. “The result was a teacher resignation.” The unidentified teacher will not be able to return to teach, and the school has decided to offer “culturally sensitive training” to the former teacher and current and future teachers.
“Our school culture is built on one of acceptance, love, and respect to serve all children and their families,” Ryan said in her letter. “The inner workings of our school are surrounded by intentional effort to eliminate implicit and explicit bias.”
The solution to the former English teacher’s remarks didn’t sit well with everyone. Some parents and students didn’t think the resignation was enough punishment, considering nothing was done about the issue until it made the matter went public on social media.
“I believe that the school was aware of it and they decided just to keep brushing it off, parent Kanisha Tillman said. Parents tried to meet with the principal, but the school doors were locked when it was time for the meeting, and the meeting had been canceled.
Tillman said there were prior racist incidents before this one that also went unhandled. One parent recalled an incident when a group of Black students discussed how it’s racist to compare Black people to monkeys. A teacher who happened to overhear the conversation told them, “It’s OK, You’re all my little monkeys.”
Tillman told the Associated Press that one time a White student called a classmate a “monkey,” but when it was reported, a teacher said it was fine because “We’re all a little bit racist.” But when the Black child called the White student a cracker, the teacher threatened them with disciplinary action.
There have also been claims of differential treatment of Black and White students.