Leslie Ranier (pictured), a Black Broward County, Fla., high school teacher who was reportedly accused of pretending to throw holy water on an atheist colleague last May, now faces possible suspension for telling a Haitian student that he “looks [like a] little chocolate boy,” a “chocolate that nobody wanted.”
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Ranier’s off-color remarks were captured on video at the Pompano Beach Blanche Ely High School. According to the school’s superintendent, Robert Runcie, the 46-year-old educator has been put on warning before about her behavior toward Haitian students.
An administrator’s complaint detailed Ranier’s conduct as “inappropriate,” saying and that her actions constitute “immorality which is conduct inconsistent with the standards of public conscience and good morals.” According to the administrator, Ranier once told a student that, “I wish they would put you in a boat and send you back [to] where you came from.”… [She also] told a student to stand in the corner near a garbage can because “that’s where he belongs,” the complaint reads.
Runcie also wrote in his petition that Rainer’s actions “constitute repeated failure on the part of Respondent to communicate with and relate to children in the classroom, to such an extent that pupils are deprived of minimum educational experience.”
The superintendent recommended in the complaint that Ranier be suspended for three days without pay and attend diversity training. The decision will be voted upon on February 7.
Ranier, a 22-year teaching veteran, adamantly defends her actions, calling the criticisms “made up” and denying that the word “chocolate” was used derogatorily. To her, “chocolate” is used as an endearing term in the Black community, and she says that her very own minister-husband calls her “sweet chocolate.”
Ranier also states that she was actually referring to some chocolates on her desk and feels she is being unfairly targeted. Ranier suspects that the previous holy water incident has a few educators still miffed, because she beat the charges at the time.
Jean-Robert Lafortune, president of the Haitian-American Grassroots Organization, is afraid that Ranier serves as a prime example of the dangerous rift that exists between African Americans and Haitian Americans. Unfortunately, Lafortune says he’s seen this sort of discrimination before and told Local 10 News that he has requested a meeting with a school board member and the superintendent’s office “to discuss the matter.”
Meanwhile, Ranier plans on fighting the accusations.