Group demands firing of Berkeley County teacher accused of using slur during racism lesson

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 9:24 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2021 at 4:48 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Members of the Stand as One activist group called for the firing of a Berkeley County teacher accused of using a racial slur during a classroom lesson on racism.

Activists gathered across the street from Cane Bay High School in Summerville where the Berkeley County School District confirmed it was investigating the incident.

Stand as One President Justin Hunt said they understand uncomfortable conversations occur in classrooms. But he said the teacher’s use of what he described as “the N-word” in full context is “the utmost disrespect to the Black community.”

“We have sent emails, we’ve made phone calls. We sent certified letters to all those in power to make the decision. We demand you take accountability for the well-being of our students,” Hunt said.

Berkeley County School District spokesperson Katie Tanner confirmed Tuesday the district is investigating the situation after a video that contained the alleged use of the slur was posted to the social media platform TikTok.

“District and school administration are aware of the video posted to TikTok which captured a portion of a classroom discussion about words and objects rooted in racism,” Tanner said. “The teacher did make the statement that a racial slur, which the teacher identified out loud, is rooted in racism. This matter is under investigation and is being addressed in accordance with school and district policy.”

Hunt said they appreciate the fact that the Berkeley County School District is responding, but criticized the district for not responding to local activists and parents and called the statement about the issue being under investigation a “diversion tactic.”

“And it’ll be under investigation till the students graduate, and your students are going to have to walk across that stage, knowing that a teacher that said that word in full context is still at that school,” Hunt said. “How are these students going to feel about the students that’s coming behind them?”

Activist Pastor Thomas Dixon also took issue with the district claiming the incident is under investigation, comparing it to the death of Jamal Sutherland who died while in custody at the Charleston County jail in January, stating his death remained “under investigation” for months.

He also took issue with white people using the N-word at all.

“When white people use that term, no matter what the context is, it hits Black people different,” Dixon said. “Once you say the N-word as a white person, it hits different inside of a black heart.”

“Everyone’s triggered,” Hunt said. He said the majority of people believe the teacher should be fired but that there are some who think nothing will happen.

But Hunt said he was thankful for all parents, including white parents who stood up when they learned of the incident. He also referred to footage of protests that showed a diverse group of students who took part.

“Diversity brings change, you got to learn to accept each other,” he said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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