Mason Schools Response to Offensive Remark

Mason Schools Response to Offensive Remark
Posted on 01/19/2018

Mason Schools Response to Offensive RemarkOur school district was recently in the spotlight for a thoughtless and offensive remark made to an African American student.  There’s no explanation or defense that would make such a comment appropriate in any setting. It was wrong. Racism is real in America, and we all have an obligation to fight it. Dr. King reminded us that, “the time is always right to do what is right.” In this case involving our teacher, the right thing to do is apologize, make amends, and take steps to be better.  Once the teacher realized the gravity and impact of her statement, she apologized to the student. Later, the teacher publicly apologized to the entire class for her thoughtless remark.
The teacher is currently on administrative leave while we continue to look into all that has been reported.  We’ve also formally reprimanded the teacher and placed a disciplinary report into her personnel file.  This is the first and only time the teacher has been disciplined in more than 22 years with our district.
Some have called for this teacher to be immediately fired and banned from ever teaching again. We understand and respect the passion of these viewpoints. The teacher has been disciplined. She is required to take further training to learn from this troubling mistake. And our school district will do more to help educators make their classrooms more inclusive and equitable by providing training on how to combat bigotry and bias.
Those of us who’ve dedicated our lives to educating others understand that everything that happens in and around a school is important because it involves our most precious asset; our children. We also realize that we must use even the most difficult moments as an opportunity to reflect, grow, and learn. On a daily basis, in classrooms around the world, people make mistakes, someone corrects them, and everyone learns from the mistake.  The teacher made a racially insensitive remark. The student bravely stood up and called his teacher to account. The student could have reacted poorly and could have rightfully berated the teacher for her thoughtlessness. Yet, he extended grace to the teacher. The student is the hero in this story.
We recognize that we have much more work to do.  We know we have ground to make up with those we’ve let down. We will not shy away from difficult conversations that may be hard and messy. We will continue to engage with our community on issues of racism and discrimination.
We appreciate those who challenge us to be better, and we are eager to engage in the work that ensures that all of our community’s children feel safe, welcomed and valued while in our schools.
Watch Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Mason Middle School Principal Tonya McCall and Deputy Superintendent Jonathan Cooper share their thoughts about what school leaders are learning and doing. "The teacher has apologized, but we feel like we need to apologize as well - to the student and family, but also to all those we've let down."

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