A Texas community is demanding accountability after a recorded classroom discussion exposed a white teacher of saying the N-word and making other racial remarks.
The controversial incident occurred in a theatre class at Klein Collins High School earlier this month. The audio, which was recorded on a hidden student cell phone, partially revealed how a discussion on race led to the teacher, Norman Grueneich, making the offensive remarks.
“I mean, if there’s a word that you’re not supposed to say, why are you saying it?” questions a student in the audio recording.
Grueneich, who is a white male, responded with, “I don’t know. Why do the guys in my class go, say, ‘Man, n—-a you crazy.’ Why do they say that?” He continued, “Why is it ‘cause I’m a white guy, I can’t say that? I can’t say the N-word.”
Students and parents who heard the full recording say the teacher made remarks about the lack of a white history month, as well as disparaging comments about Native Americans.
By Wednesday, Oct. 13, the teacher was no longer considered a district employee, according to Klein ISD Associate Superintendent for Communications Dayna Hernandez.
The district issued the following statement:
“In Klein ISD, we pride ourselves on our ability to create safe spaces for every child in our schools. This former employee failed to do that and is no longer employed in Klein ISD.The statements made by this former employee do not reflect our district shared vision, our employees, or anything about Klein ISD. We regret that our students were impacted by this language, and if any of them would like to talk to any of our counselors, we will make them available.
Every child deserves to feel safe and have a positive learning experience at school. We are deeply sorry that this former employee failed to do this for our students. This incident is still under investigation at this time.”
But parents who gathered outside the Harris County school accused the district of being complicit and failing to address the incident until local media became involved.
“I don’t want any backlash coming on my family, on the kids from other students, faculty. And, a whole week later, not even a phone call. Not an email, not anything,” said Jamie Olliver, parent of the student who recorded Grueneich’s comments.
The school, which is located in Spring, Texas, has just under 3,500 enrolled students. Of that population, 37 percent are Hispanic, 36 percent white, and 15 percent are of African-American descent.
Community activist Quannel X said the teacher’s words were “absolutely offensive” and cast doubt over the teacher’s ability to fairly grade students.
“Because if you’ve got that kind of mindset about Black people, Hispanics and Indians, who knows what you did with your grade book?” said Quannel during a press conference.
Online, people expressed similar outrage over the incident.
“My son attends your school. One of his friends was in this classroom. This is bulls—t and y’all know it and I hope y’all really do something about it. Not just against the teacher and him resigning but asst principles as well.”
“History is white washed. Caucasians are historically known for culture appropriation.”
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