An Alabama teacher is on administrative leave with pay this week after admitting to using a racial slur to complain about the music her students were playing in class.
Students are typically allowed to bump their favorite tunes in Hoover High School teacher Teddie Butcher’s class, Al.com reported. But students say Butcher was less-than-delighted about the song they chose to listen to last Friday as they worked on a project.
The food and nutrition teacher returned to her classroom to hear students playing Tupac’s “Dear Mama,” after which she asked that they “turn the n—-r tunes off,” many witnesses said. Butcher reportedly told superintendent Kathy Murphy she was bothered by the song’s foul lyrics. However, parent Shenita Morrow, whose daughter is in Butcher’s class, insisted the song contains no profanity.
Most concerning for Morrow wasn’t the teacher’s issue with the song, but her “comfort level” with saying the word in front of a group of students, she told Al.com. The mother and her daughter met with Butcher on Monday where the teacher doubled down on her claims the song was profane. Morrow disputed this, again, and said her daughter spoke directly to her teacher about how her use of the slur made her feel.
“After meeting with [Butcher], it’s just baffling to me how someone does not understand the severity of the weight of that word,” Morrow said.
According to school officials, Butcher apologized to her class on Monday.
An investigation into the incident is reportedly underway, but students claim they were asked by the school principal to delete video of the incident that was uploaded to social media.
Romel Williams, whose daughter showed her a clip of the incident on Snapchat, said she doesn’t feel Butcher belongs at Hoover High anymore. Her top concern? Ensuring her kids feel safe.
Her firing “would set the record straight that this behavior isn’t acceptable,” she told Al.com.
Superintendent Murphy has since issued the following statement:
“As we are addressing this matter, we will be looking at our board’s policy and obviously taking a look at the state Teacher Code about expectations and we’ll be putting [Butcher’s] conduct and behavior up against what we know is professional conduct of one’s self.”
“It is my expectation as a superintendent that we’ll treat all students with significant respect, that we’ll conduct ourselves as professionals, and the things that come out of our mouths are to be respectful and professional.”
Officials with Hoover City Schools didn’t return requests for comment.