A Connecticut mother alleges that her Black son was subjected to racially offensive language from his teacher during class, and now the West Hartford School District is investigating the claims just one week into the new school year.
Che’La’Mora Hardy, the child’s mother, not only claims that the teacher’s use of the N-word deeply offended her 13-year-old son but also believes that he was unfairly singled out in front of his peers. She feels her son is no longer safe.
The incident occurred on Friday, Sept. 1, and left the young student feeling “distraught and confused.” According to the mother, her son’s teacher transitioned from reviewing the class policy on inappropriate language to using it.
As the teacher went through the lesson, Hardy’s son said, “We don’t curse, we don’t use profanity.”
His teacher allegedly responded, “Even if you don’t curse, you guys use other types of words that you shouldn’t be using.”
When the teen asked what she meant, the teacher said the N-word. To demonstrate its use, the teacher pronounced the slur with the hard “r” and in its slang version with the short “a” sound.
“You guys say [N-word] too. And you don’t even know what that means,” the teacher is quoted as saying before explaining to the class the word meant “my slave.”
The child told his parent the teacher said teachers could use it, but students could not.
That is different from the school district’s policy on using the word.
“We have had a policy in the district, and provided training in the past, that racial slurs, charged language, and other things of this sort are never to be given voice by anyone in our schools, not by our teachers, not by our students, not by our volunteers,” Superintendent of Schools Paul Vicinus explained in a statement, according to the Hartford Courant. “There’s absolutely no place for it.”
Vicinus also said the district is taking the matter extremely seriously, and he and the school’s administration are “Gravely disturbed, gravely concerned.”
The mother said the probe is already underway, with the district interviewing students in the class and their parents about the incident.
She wants the teacher fired and claims that her child was profiled.
“She just automatically assumed because he’s a Black kid, that’s the word that he uses. You don’t get to racially profile my kid like that and then actually use the word,” said Hardy. “I don’t want my kid to have to experience this again, and I want the teacher to be removed because she has proven herself to be an unsafe adult.”
The West Hartford Education Association will represent the teacher in the investigation. WHEA President Brian Putkonen has declined to comment on the accusation’s validity.
Hardy’s son is a new transfer from King Philip Middle School and had only been on campus of his new school for three days before the incident.
“I had already been preparing him all summer for a good year, ‘It’s going to be a good year. It’s a new beginning…’ I couldn’t have prepared him for something like this.” Hardy said.