A Cincinnati mother is demanding action from school leaders after she says a white social studies teacher told her son his classmates would lynch him if he didn’t get back on task.
The incident reportedly happened last month in front of the student’s class at Mason Middle School, according to his mother, Tanisha Agee–Bell. She acknowledged her son Nathan, 13, was talking in class at the time his teacher made the remark, Cincinnati.com reported but felt her response was totally out of line.
“His teacher had told him that if he didn’t get back on task, that his friends were going to lynch him, and we thought he must have misunderstood,” Agee-Bell said of the moment her son told her what happened.
She said Nathan told his teacher, Renee Thole, he felt her comment was racist, to which Thole asked why he felt that way. The teen said he didn’t tell his mom about the incident for a week because he was afraid he’d be punished for questioning his teacher in class.
Agee-Bell later met with the social studies teacher, who confirmed that she’d told the teen that if he didn’t get back focused on his schoolwork, his friends would form an angry mob and lynch him. The mother said she felt Thole’s response was worse than her son had told her.
Agee-Bell added that the teacher expressed frustration with the boy’s extra talking.
“I told her, ‘Next time you’re frustrated are you going to call him a n*****?'” she asked.
Cincinnati.com reported that Agee-Bell contacted the school and has her son removed from Thole’s class. There’s no word on whether Thole was disciplined for her actions, however.
“As educators, sometimes we mess up — and clearly that happened here,” said Tracy Carson, a spokeswoman for Mason Schools. “It was amazing that (Nathan) was brave enough to confront the teacher.”
Thole offered Nathan an apology in class, saying she meant no harm by her comment. The teacher stopped just short of explaining to the majority-white class why what she said was problematic, however, according to his mother.
Agee-Bell, a long-time member of the Mason school district’s diversity council, said two other kids with parents on the council have suffered similar racially charged incidents in the last few months. News of her own child’s experience came just days after a neighboring youth basketball team was banned from their league for sporting jerseys with racial slurs on them.