Georgia Substitute Teacher Fired After Calling Black Students "Devils"
|thenorthstar||Sep 23, 2019|
A substitute teacher in Georgia has been fired for allegedly writing a note that described Black children as “devils,” and white children as “angels."
The letter was first reported to CBS46 by a parent with a son at Bernard Awtrey Middle School in Cobb County, Georgia. The parent told the news station that students saw the note,, took photos, and sent it to their parents.
In a Facebook post shared by CBS46, the parent wrote: "And please, if you're reading this ... don't say how you're sorry this happened to my son who is a straight A student, comes from a two-parent household and flies planes in his spare time. Instead, think about how you can remove your unconscious bias and racist motives before you step out of your home and engage with anyone who doesn't look like you."
In a statement to the news station, a spokesperson from the Cobb County School District said that the substitute teacher, who remains unidentified, was fired after school administrators were made aware of the note.
“A substitute teacher was fired after school administration was made aware that the substitute composed two lists, one titled ‘angels’ and the other titled ‘devils.’ The names of black and white students appeared in both columns. The District doesn’t tolerate any adult we employ making comments which are disrespectful in any way,” the statement to the news station read.
A similar incident occurred at a school in Minnesota in May after a teacher was placed on administrative leave for using a racial slur in front of her students. A Snapchat video that was uploaded to Facebook shows Wendy Brilowski speaking with several students at Highland Park Middle School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, when she can be heard saying “They’re Black. And they’re the only [racial slur] doing any work.” Brilowski teaches Spanish at the middle school, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press previously reported.
After the video went viral, Saint Paul Public Schools District Superintendent Joe Gothard issued a statement on the district’s website which stated that Brilowski had been placed on administrative leave.
“The words and actions recorded in this video have caused harm to our Black students, their families and our entire school community. These actions go against Saint Paul Public Schools core values and its commitment to serving youth and families,” wrote Gothard. “We will not be silent in the face of racist language in our schools — and we cannot perpetuate it,” Gothard said.“We will not make excuses for actions that hurt the students that we as educators have dedicated our lives to serve.”
That same month, a principal and four teachers at a California elementary school were placed on administrative leave after a photo of the teachers posing and smiling with what appears to be a noose was found on social media.
The racist photo was taken in a classroom at Summerwind Elementary School in Palmdale, California, the Los Angeles Times previously reported. The photo had been taken and shared by the school’s principal, Linda Brandts, who shared the photo on social media without a caption, according to the publication. The incident caused some parents to pull their children out of the school for good, the Antelope Valley Press previously reported.
“We are disgusted. Absolutely disgusted,” Breyson Clemmons, a parent whose child attended the elementary school, previously told the publication.
“We drop our kids off with the idea that we are sending them to a culturally competent institution for learning. We think that we’re sending them to a school; they’re safe. Never do we think we’re sending them to a plantation where they got nooses hanging up, and holding on to nooses. Taking pictures and smiling, where’s the humor?”
After the photo went viral, Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado wrote on the district’s Facebook page that the educators were placed on administrative leave, and an investigation was underway.
“I am appalled that this incident occurred. I am committed to the Palmdale Promise’s values of equity, integrity, and multiculturalism, and I know that most of the district believe[s] in the same values the Promise upholds,” Maldonado previously wrote. “We will not allow the hurtful actions of a few hold back our district’s pledge to do right by our community.”
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.