Photo: Getty Images
  /  10.21.2022

A white Illinois teacher is on paid leave after he called a Black student a “f**king n**ger” in front of the entire classroom. In the moments leading up to the racial slur, the two were arguing, which caused students to already have their phones out and capture the moment on video.

Today (Oct. 21), local news station Fox 32 Chicago confirmed the incident happened at Kankakee High School. Supt. Dr. Genevra A. Walters shared that the teacher and male student got into a “minor conflict” before things took a turn. The teen was on his way out of the classroom when he was seen on video saying that the teacher tried to hit him with a book by throwing it at him.

Walters issued a statement on the school district’s Facebook page. “We are disappointed with the incident that happened in a classroom at Kankakee High School. A teacher (in a minor conflict with a student) chose to use a racial slur as the student independently exited the classroom. The teacher has been placed on paid leave pending a full investigation,” she began. “The video is a system of a much larger societal issue. Although this is a disheartening situation for our students, families, and public education, the root of the problem must be addressed in a systemic way,” she added.

While discussing the teacher’s troubling actions, she noted that she was proud of the way the other students conducted themselves as they witnessed the offensive and hurtful language. After reading her statement, many Facebook users weighed in and began a discussion. One person wrote, “The teacher should definitely be fired, no question. There is never an excuse for a racial slur, especially from an adult.”

In Walters’ statement, she said, “We want to recognize the issues plaguing public education: Mental health/anxiety among students and staff, teacher shortage and equitable opportunities among students and teachers within the system.” One commenter responded, “Poor mental health doesn’t excuse hate. I don’t care WHAT that student was saying or doing, nothing justified that. The teacher knew it was deplorable and that’s why he nervously said, ‘Gonna get fired anyway’ in response. Investigation into what? We’ve seen the video. He said it. Period. I don’t know that there is any context in the world that could justify that.”

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