Students at Farmington High School in Michigan staged a walkout after a substitute teacher directed a racially-insensitive comment at a Black student.
The incident, which was recorded on cellphone video, also inspired nearby North Farmington High School students to participate in the walkout, according to FOX 2 Detroit.
Keichean Wilson told the local news station his side of what took place in the classroom.
“I was touching the teacher’s mic. I probably shouldn’t have been doing it,” he said. “She says to me, ‘Get your cotton picking hands off of that.'”
Just in case Wilson and the other students didn’t comprehend her the first time, the substitute repeated it.
“I don’t think I comprehended what she said at first, and then she repeated it,” Wilson told FOX 2. “You cannot say that. That’s really bad. So then she goes, ‘It’s an old saying that we used to say,’ and so I go, ‘Who do you think they said it to?
The incident inspired the student population to take action. While it’s unclear exactly how many students left classes to join the protest, video captured by FOX 2 appears to show at least 50 students participating. “No justice, no peace,” the students chanted in the video.
“We’re tired of injustice. We’re tired of having to face this in our schools. We’re supposed to come to learn. We’re done with it,” student LaTina Beard told the news station.
Farmington Public Schools Superintendent Chris Delgado called the incident “intolerable, especially in 2022.” He said the teacher will no longer be allowed to teach at Farmington High and won’t be hired in the district.
“The administration immediately addressed the situation and removed that substitute teacher and worked with her contract services to make sure she’s not back,” he said. Intolerable especially in 2022.”
Delgado was pleased to know that Wilson told a staff member who deals with conflict about the incident. “That’s a real testament to the relationship that we try to build with students in our school,” he said.
Wilson isn’t upset with the substitute. He told FOX 2 that he doesn’t have “any hate toward her.”
“I feel like the only way that things are going to change is people have love for everyone,” he said.
“Farmington School District spokesperson Diane Bauman released a statement regarding the incident saying, “Racism, whether implied or direct, whether in words or actions, has no place in any of our schools. Our schools need to be a safe place for everyone, and nobody should be made to feel the way these young men felt this morning.’