Kathleen Pyles, a math teacher in Waterbury, Connecticut has been placed on administrative leave after allegedly calling an African-American student “Black boy” because she forgot his name, NBC Connecticut reports.
The incident, which took place in May at North End Middle School, began when Pyles allegedly addressed one of her students by the wrong name. When he corrected her, she replied, “How about black boy? Go sit down, black boy.”
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Waterbury school officials tried to assure angry parents and residents of the community that the allegation is being taken very seriously.
“We wish to assure parents that we take this allegation very seriously. We do not tolerate or condone the claimed behavior from our staff, and if the allegation of making racist remarks is proven true, the district will take appropriate action,” Guidone said in a statement.
One local leader in the African-American community said he couldn’t believe that a teacher could make such an ill-advised remark.
“Totally shocked. I couldn’t believe someone in a professional position like that could make a statement such as that,” said Jimmy Griffin, who is with the Connecticut African American Emancipation Challenge.
Griffin’s comments were made at a school board meeting on Thursday night. The district’s superintendent Dr. Kathleen Oulette and board member Karen Harvey both agreed that sensitivity training needed to be implemented.
“It doesn’t set a good example for the kids,” said Karen Harvey.
Earlier that day, Waterbury Teachers Association released a statement saying that they ensure that every child has a “caring” and “qualified” teacher.
Griffin says that the board needs to act fast.
“They need to take some real serious action this is no joke this is a very racist comment,” Griffin added.