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JCPS reassigned two teachers after they cursed out students, used the n-word on camera

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Courtesy of Cheri Allen
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Jefferson County Public Schools has reassigned two teachers after a video surfaced on Facebook showing them cursing at students and using the n-word in a Carrithers Middle School classroom.

JCPS spokesperson Carolyn Callahan told WFPL News the two teachers were reassigned to bus compounds while the district investigates the incident. Callahan said the teachers are not interacting with students while they’re reassigned.

The nine-minute video, which appears to have been recorded by a student in the class, shows two teachers berating a group of students for their behavior. It’s unclear what date the video was recorded.

“I have to come in here and deal with your all’s sh– every single day. Yeah, I am gonna cuss, if you want to record me, go ahead. I don’t care because I’m tired of it,” one teacher, who appears to be a white man, says.

“I’m tired of getting told, ‘It’s because they’ve been out of school, it’s COVID trauma,’” the second, off-camera teacher says, using a high mocking voice. “No! You all are human beings, you know how to act.”

Teachers described themselves as having reached their limit with student behavior.

“We get cussed out 40 times a day,” the teacher on camera says. “Like what if you all were us, and you had some bada– little kids coming up and [saying] ‘f— you, you b—-!’”

The teacher, who appears to be white, repeatedly uses a racial slur in speaking to a diverse group of students, which includes middle-schoolers who appear to be Black.

“Or you get called a ‘n—–,’ or you get called a ‘cracker’—don’t turn around and look like that’s f—— something new, ‘cus it’s not. I get called a ‘n—–‘ every day, multiple times a day, with a hard ‘R’ too. And you can go home and tell your parents that too, because I am using it in context because that’s the sh– that comes out of your all’s mouths.”

The off-camera teacher warns students that their behavior could get them into trouble with law enforcement, and dismisses the role race plays in police interactions.

“They’re going to have you down on the ground, no matter what color you are—so let’s not even use that as an excuse. I get tired of that too. I don’t care if you’re yellow, purple, red, white, black, brown, tan. It has nothing to do with your actions,” the teacher says. “Being a human is colorblind.”

Carrithers Middle School parent Cheri Allen, said her 12-year-old daughter was the student who recorded the video.

“I’m just heartbroken,” Allen told WFPL News. “When I’m not around I’m expecting these teachers to be that confidant, to be that protector for my child, to be that educator—and that’s not what took place.”

Allen said her daughter, who is Black, came home upset on the day of the incident, and hasn’t wanted to return to school since.

In a March 18 letter to Carrithers Middle School families, principal Denise Franklin-Williams, said the school is “taking this matter seriously.”

“I want to assure you that we will be reviewing this matter, and we will be following JCPS policies and procedures in that process,” Franklin-Williams wrote.

Asked why the teachers were not suspended, Callahan responded, “All employees are afforded due process in accordance with district policy and state law.”

Allen said she wasn’t satisfied with reassignment, and wants the teachers to be fired.

“I think they should lose their jobs, no one should talk to children like that,” she said.

This story has been updated.

Jess Clark is WWNO's Education Desk reporter. Jess comes to the station after two years as Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting for North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC (Chapel Hill). Her reporting has aired on national programs, including NPR's All Things Considered, Here & Now from WBUR, and NPR's Weekend Edition.
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