A white science teacher has been put on administrative leave after being accused of using racial slurs during a class discussion, the district confirmed.
The high school chemistry teacher at South-Doyle High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, was seen on video using a racial slur during a classroom discussion about the appropriate use of the word.
In the video, shared on social media on March 27, the teacher can be seen in a heated discussion with a student. The student yells at the teacher and says that as a white person, he shouldn’t use the racial slur.
The teacher responds by continuing to use the word and trying to justify its use to the students. The students can be heard becoming upset, yelling back at the teacher to stop using the word, the video shows.
The caption on the video, posted by a student in the class, said “Every one of us felt highly disrespected in the situation especially us black students and when we tried to correct him he insisted (it’s) an English word so he should be allowed to say it,” and said that this behavior should not be tolerated, especially from teachers.
The video does not show the beginning of the encounter, but one student told Knox News that the argument began when the teacher singled out a particular student for being noisy in class.
When the noisy student asked why they were called out, the teacher responded by using the racial slur, the student told Knox News.
“The whole thing made me feel like our teacher doesn’t care about us,” the student told Knox News. “Why would you say that to us as a class when we didn’t do anything to you?”
McClatchy News is not embedding or linking to social media videos of the alleged incident due to its offensive language.
In a statement made by the Knox County School District to McClatchy News, the district said it “does not tolerate any instances of racism.”
“A Knox County Schools employee has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into this matter. Because there is an investigation, we are unable to comment further at this time,” the district said.
South-Doyle High School had 1,038 students enrolled during the 2021-2022 school year, 26 percent of whom identify as a person of color, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
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