Teacher on Leave After Racist Lesson, Using Racial Slurs in Class

(TargetDailyNews.com) – A teacher from a Southborough elementary school was suspended after holding a mock slave auction with fifth graders wherein two black children were put in front of the class while the other children were encouraged to size them up based on physical attributes. The teacher in question isn’t being identified over privacy concerns, but the school is Margaret Neary Elementary School in Massachusetts.

Superintendent Gregory Martineau wrote a letter to parents wherein he called the teacher’s actions inappropriate and intolerable. The teacher was also accused of using the “n-word” during a reading, and upon critique, it was discovered that the teacher added the epithet to the text.

The first incident occurred in January of this year wherein the teacher pulled two black students up in front of the class and pretended to auction them off as slaves. The second incident followed in March and occurred after a student complained about the teacher’s use of the n-word.

Martineau suggested that the lessons were wildly inappropriate in his letter, arguing that the content actually negatively impacts black students who participate. He also refused to identify the teacher, firmly stating that “personnel matters” were confidential. Martineau added that the principal of the school, Kathleen Valenti, was placed on paid leave during their review of the situation.

Martineau added that the district would work to enhance “cultural competence” in the future, which included “culturally competent” lessons. He additionally apologized for the impact on students and families who were involved.

A similar incident where eighth graders were jokingly holding a mock slave auction of their peers was exposed in February to national attention, earning a harsh critique for the teenagers involved. Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gullini announced the six teens will be charged criminally for the “hateful racist online chat.” The contents included threats of violence against minorities, racist commentary, and a mock slave auction.

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