A mother wants the British school her daughter attends held accountable after a teacher repeatedly used the N-word while reading a literary classic.
The 12-year-old child is the only Black girl in her class at Orchard School Bristol, according to Mirror Online.
Her teacher was reading author John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” when the student told the educator his use of the N-word made her uncomfortable, the child’s mother told several news outlets.
The teacher responded by saying the word in ‘rapping style,’ replacing the “er” ending with “a,” according to the Metro newspaper.
“I believe if my daughter was gay, or if anything was said that was homophobic, it would be treated a lot more seriously,” the mother told the newspaper
The 1937 novella the teacher read uses the word “n—er” repeatedly in telling the story of displaced migrant ranch workers searching for new jobs during the Great Depression.
“We’re not trying to accuse him of being racist, I don’t think he was being malicious,” the mother told the Metro, “but I don’t think he was taking her seriously enough.”
The woman took her daughter out of school and kept her off the next day, according to the Metro.
“Sometimes I feel I live in a world where, because of the colour of my skin, I’m not being taken seriously,” she told the newspaper. “I would hate to think my daughter will grow up the same way.”
The school’s head teacher Julia Hinchliffe defended the teacher in question in a statement released to Bristol Live.
“We choose not to censor the text because, by deleting it from our curriculum, we would deny our students the right to a full understanding of racial prejudice over the course of history,” she said.
Hinchliffe also told the Metro she understands the school didn’t “immediately and fully” address the parent’s concerns and that it is reviewing how it deals with such complaints in the future.
“In fact, our experience is that when we do teach this book in Year 8 we see greater tolerance and reduced name-calling,” she said. “As a multicultural community, we feel that teaching the text remains crucial in educating our young people about tolerance, racial prejudice, and empathy.
“We teach this text so that we learn from the mistakes of history.”