A teacher who allegedly repeated the n-word in front of her class after it had been scrawled by a student on a desk is under investigation.
Minneapolis Public Schools confirmed that the teacher at Northeast Middle School has been placed on leave following the incident in an 8th Grade classroom, which sparked a petition and a student walkout on Friday.
In a Change.org petition seeking the firing of that teacher, a student who claims to have "personally" witnessed the incident says it began when a fellow student wrote the n-word on a table in class.
"About 10 minutes later (the teacher) became frustrated with some student and said 'people should not be writing ___ on the table' She said it with no hesitation, the students in the class were furious and went and got our principal. As soon as he walked in she started crying to appear like the victim, she said 'i’m so sorry mr rowe' completely invalidating the black students feelings. The principal barely said anything to her, then he pulled up an article about Kendrick Lamar stopping a white fan from saying the N-word. Students were upset and left the room."
School principal Vernon Rowe said in a message to students that the incident occurred after students were "defacing" school property and the teacher "read the slur out loud from student texts about it."
Rowe said "sharing that use of the word was unacceptable."
Later, the Change.org account says, the teacher in question told her next group of students that ‘’my last class was a bit dramatic."
The student also says that "our principal is invalidating our feelings" by suggesting it was a learning moment, while "other teachers continued telling us to keep the conversation within our group."
A Minneapolis Public Schools spokesperson said that "sharing that use of the word was unacceptable," adding that the teacher is "on leave."
In a memo sent to families forwarded to Bring Me The News, Superintendent Ed Graff said: "Students, staff and families alike have felt the pain and trauma of one of our staff members reading a racial slur out loud from a student text during class.
"I join Principal Rowe in apologizing to the Northeast community for the use of a word that should never be used regardless of circumstances. We are a community that respects and values all members of our community and are taking steps to address the impact of this incident."
The school district said that it is conducting an investigation, a process that usually takes between 30 and 60 days, and it notes that what happens after "can vary greatly in time and content."
"If and when discipline is recommended, the employee has contractual and legal rights that may include a formal union grievance, or even mediation or arbitration," Graff added.
Until a decision has been reached the district said it can't provide any further information.
Since the incident happened, Principal Rowe has been in touch with "dozens of families and students to address both student impact and involvement," and has also "facilitated a healing circle discussion with dozens of students at Northeast last week."