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St. Paul school employee on leave over racist comment caught on video

The school district superintendent promised 'aggressive' action to address the situation.

A staff member at a St. Paul school is on leave after a video circulated on social media in which they used racist language.

The blurry video doesn't reveal the identity of the female staff member at Highland Park Middle School, but the footage records her saying: "I just walk around the room, I just pick on them ... 'cause they're black, and they're the only f----- [N-words] doing any work."

She then says "I know, I'm sorry" as another person, who appears to be a student, says "I'm done with you."

On Thursday, a statement was posted to the St. Paul Public Schools website on behalf of Superintendent Joe Gothard and Highland Park Middle School Principal Char Hoff.

Describing the video as "disturbing," they said that "no matter the situation, the racist and foul language used by a staff member in the video has no place in Saint Paul Public Schools."

The staff member has been placed on administrative leave, which they say is standard practice pending the outcome of a district review.

"We will work to understand what happened and take immediate, aggressive action to address this situation," they wrote.

"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.

"We will not be silent in the face of racist language in our schools – and we cannot perpetuate it. We will not make excuses for actions that hurt the students that we as educators have dedicated our lives to serve.

"Following this incident, we have a lot of work to do to repair harm and rebuild trust with our students and our community. We take that responsibility seriously. We offer a sincere apology for the actions that took place in our building on Wednesday."

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