A Long Island, New York, elementary school student said his teacher made a derogatory comment toward him in class on Monday, and now his grandmother is demanding action from the school.
“We just want this teacher removed from the school,” Roberta Williams, the grandmother of the elementary student, told News 12. “He shouldn’t be teaching any kids.”
Nassaun Jones, a fourth-grader at West Middle Island Elementary School said he was drawing a self-portrait of himself in his art class when he was having trouble with sketching his nose. The 8-year-old then asked his white teacher John Johnson for help.
“He drew my nose really big, and I asked him ‘Why did you draw my nose really big?’ and then he said ‘all African-Americans have big noses,’” said Jones as tears ran down his face.
Williams said she was shocked when her grandson told her about Johnson’s comment.
“You told a kid that, OK, because of your color, you have a big nose,” said Williams.
Jones’ grandmother said she received a call from the Middle Island art teacher last week who told her that the 8-year-old “misunderstood” what he was meant. Williams responded back, “No, I don’t think he misunderstood you at all.”
She reported the incident to school officials, and the acting principal said she’d have a word with Johnson.
The fourth-grader said he’s afraid to return back to his art class because he “doesn’t know what’s going to happen.”
Williams said the alleged racist incident has left a scar on her grandson, and she is demanding Johnson be removed from his position.
Superintendent Michael R. Lonergan issued a statement on Oct. 16 saying that “the district was made aware of a misconstrued statement from a teacher to a student.”
“Longwood Central School District Central Administration is looking into the matter and trust that any miscommunication or offense taken by the family from a staff member will be remedied through further communication.”