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Utah School Defends White Teacher’s Use of the N-Word During Class Lesson: His Intent Was Not to Offend

A Black Utah teen tells his mother that his teacher used the n-word and defined it during a screening of the 1989 film Glory last month.

According to a report by Utah’s Fox 19, the mother of a 14-year-old South Ogden Junior High student is outraged that a teacher would use the n-word in a way that emotionally disturbed her son. The teen’s mother, Holly Frye, tells reporters that this incident happened last month and she wants the white teacher, Douglas Barker, disciplined for his remark.

It began when Barker was screening the Civil War film Glory to his class. Frye’s child told her that the teacher began using the racially charged word to describe the language students would hear in the film.

“He then proceeded to tell the children his definition,” Frye said. “You tell me where in the course it says to talk about racial slurs.”

Nate Taggart of the Weber School district told Fox 19:

“Regardless of the context, it was inappropriate,” Taggart said. “We don’t feel his intent was to offend with it.”

The spokesman also states that the teacher had the confederate flag in his classroom last year and took it down voluntarily, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. 

“My intent has never been to offend, only to teach for understanding with historical context,” Barker said in the email.

However, Frye wants Barker to be held responsible for his actions.

“If you are a teacher, you have a duty to be an example to your kids,” Frye said about Barker. “He needs to be removed from the classroom, period.”

What people are saying

One thought on “Utah School Defends White Teacher’s Use of the N-Word During Class Lesson: His Intent Was Not to Offend

  1. The teacher may not have meant to offend, but there are other and better ways to explain yourself and what you're trying to teach. I can think of a hundred ways to explain myself to others without having to resort to using language that would offend others. The teacher's excuse does not pass the test.

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