Defiant Kentucky Middle School Teacher Allegedly Kept Calling Black Student with Disability a Racial Slur with No Consequences: ‘She Knew It Would be Difficult for Her to Say Anything’

A discrimination lawsuit was filed against the Diocese of Covington and St. Joseph Catholic Church Middle School in Cold Spring, Kentucky, claiming that an eighth-grade teacher repeatedly used the N-word in class this year.

According to the lawsuit obtained by Atlanta Black Star, the teacher is accused of “intentional discrimination and harassment of a Black student with disabilities” by repeatedly using the word during class discussions about race in March.

The 13-year-old student was the only Black student in the class, and the lawsuit also contends that she was called the N-word by another student after she refused to share her answers to a class assignment.

St. Joseph Catholic Church Middle School
A teacher at St. Joseph Catholic Church Middle School in Cold Spring, Kentucky, is accused of repeatedly using the N-word in class. (Photo: WCPO 9 / YouTube screenshot)

The family is being represented by Covington’s J. Davis Law Firm, which filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Covington on Oct. 30 on behalf of the student, who is referred to as Jane Doe in the complaint.

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The family’s attorney, Jamir Davis, says Jane Doe was subjected to racial discrimination, disability discrimination, harassment, emotional distress, and negligence at the hands of the Diocese of Covington, St. Joseph Catholic Church, and Jane Doe’s English teacher, Clydenna Herman.

Herman allegedly used the N-word repeatedly during class discussions about race.

“Teachers would single her out based on her race and one teacher would openly use the
word ‘N—er’ in class without consequence,” says the lawsuit. “Her school also failed to properly investigate or discipline other students that called her a N—er.’”

The lawsuit also claims that Herman defended her use of the word by saying her parents used the N-word “all the time” and “be careful who you say n—r around because you will be ex’ed out of our society.”

Davis said that Jane Doe’s classmates “actually came to her defense and said you shouldn’t say that.”

The complaint also noted that even after Jane Doe, who has a learning disability, was removed from Herman’s class, the teacher continued to harass the student, including saying that because the 13-year-old is of mixed race, she looked “Hispanic” and therefore should not have been offended by the N-word. Herman also stared at the student to intimidate her and once got on an elevator with her to say she should “drop the whole thing.”

Herman also “purposely refused” the student communion during a mass ceremony and specifically targeted and retaliated against Jane Doe because she knew the student had a communication disability and would have difficulty reporting her, her attorneys say.

“It’s hard for her to communicate her emotions and her feelings,” said Davis. “And we think that’s the reason the teacher specifically targeted her because she knew it would be difficult for her to say anything about it.”

Monsignor Gerald Reinersman is also named in the suit for failing to investigate.

According to the Northern Kentucky Tribune, Jane Doe’s mother, who is referred to as C.B. in the complaint, says that the teacher was not sanctioned or disciplined, nor did her daughter receive an official apology or explanation for Herman’s behavior. C.B. also noted that her daughter was traumatized, yet no offer of mental health assistance was offered, and no sensitivity training was required of Herman.

“The school system made it come to this point,” said C.B. “We gave the school and teacher every opportunity to resolve this in an amicable fashion. We are still in counseling with my daughter over the pain she is still suffering. My child has been traumatized.”

C.B. added that her daughter is now a freshman at another school. The family originally moved to the area because she thought St. Joseph Catholic Church Middle School would be a nurturing environment for her daughter. Davis said that the inaction of the school system outweighed Herman’s actions.

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“The inaction of the school system is almost worse than the action of the teacher,” said Davis. “There is no doubt that the incidents outline in the complaint happened. But the school did nothing.”

The Diocese of Covington released a statement saying that they were “eager for any opportunity to condemn racism.”

“The teaching of the Catholic Church is clear,” said the diocese. “Racism is a moral evil. The Catholic Church and the Diocese of Covington work to oppose and root out racism wherever we encounter this radical evil, especially in our Christian minds and hearts.”

Herman reportedly is teaching at another St. Joseph School in Crescent Springs, Kentucky.

Read the original story here.

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