Michigan Middle School Teacher on Leave for Using the N-Word with ‘Hard R’ Multiple Times In Response to Hearing Black Student Casually Using the Slur; Furious Mom Claims It’s a Hate Crime

A substitute middle school teacher in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is under fire after a seventh grader said she used a racial slur while talking to him.

The teen’s mother reported the incident to the school and the local police, accusing the educator of perpetrating a hate crime on her son.

“I was shocked, hurt,” said Brittany, the boy’s mother.

Michigan Middle School Teacher on Leave for Using the N-Word with 'Hard R' Multiple Times In Response to Hearing Black Student Casually Using the Slur; Furious Mom Claims It's a Hate Crime
Slauson Middle schooler says teacher used the N-word. (Photo: YouTube/WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7)

Both agencies have launched an investigation into the allegations, with the school district saying it is taking the “situation very seriously.”

Related: ‘They Take Vaping More Serious’: Black Teen Claims 3 Students Gave Him a Piece Of Copper with the N-Word Engraved, Accuses School of Issuing ‘Weak’ Punishment

The child’s parents leaped into action immediately after the Slauson Middle School student told them what happened to him during his school day.

According to the child, whose name is being withheld because he is a minor, on Friday, May 12, the substitute overheard him casually using the N-word with a classmate and entered into the conversation using the racial epithet, WXYZ reports.

“The teacher came up to him, asked him to leave the classroom, and, on the way out of their class, she said, ‘Why are you using the N-word when you are an N-word?'” said Brittany.

There was a difference in how he used it with his friend and how the teacher used it: she pronounced the word the hard “r.”

While in the hallway, outside of the classroom, the teacher continued to say the derogatory word. Eventually, another staffer asked her to stop.

After the boy’s parents alerted the school district about the incident, the substitute, who had actually retired from teaching full-time, was placed on administrative leave.

The student returned to school on Monday, May 15, and reports he experienced retaliation from another school employee who reportedly confronted him about telling on the substitute.

According to Brittany, who prefers her last name be withheld so her son does not receive additional retaliation from classmates and adults, a teaching assistant tried to pressure her son to retract his statement about the teacher using the offensive word. Like her colleague, the mother says, the teaching assistant also used the word — not softening the ending sound and allegedly articulating the hard “r.”

Upon hearing about the two incidents, one person on social media said, “I hope that teacher and assistant are both fired for racist comments and intimidation of a middle school child at your school.”

In a statement about the incident, Superintendent Jeanice Swift of the Ann Arbor Public Schools said the district stands “firm against any and all acts of bias, bigotry, and racism.”

Swift categorized the substitute’s action as a “redirection” of the student’s use of the racial slur, adding administrators were in communication over the weekend and placed the teacher on leave as they followed up with a thorough investigation.

“We take this situation very seriously; all of us are deeply disturbed by the content of the allegations,” Swift wrote in the statement. “We take very seriously any and all concerns shared regarding racist attitudes and practices that exist anywhere in our AAPS organization.”

The superintendent says the school recognizes “that reporting requires courage and that it is critically important that students, staff and community members have a safe place to openly share their concerns and experiences,” particularly to fulfill the school district’s mission of inclusion and equity.

The Ann Arbor Public School District demographics are not homogenous, according to US News.

An assessment of the student body at each school served by the AAPD breaks down on average 50.7 percent white, 13.9 percent Black, 13.9 percent Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander, and 9.6 percent Hispanic/Latino.

Slauson Middle School is on par with the district demographics: 59 percent of the students enrolled in the school are white, while the school only has 9 percent Black, 8 percent Hispanic, and 14 percent Asian.

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