A newly reported incident adds another case to an ongoing probe of racism at the prestigious Boston Latin School, CBS News reports.
Rosalind Wornum told WBZ NewsRadio that about 18 months ago, an English teacher used the n-word to address her daughter, Destinee. The incident is alleged to have happened during a classroom discussion of the novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Destinee Wornum, now 16, told the Globe the teacher approached her last fall during class and asked “What’s up my nigger?” Wornum described being deeply embarrassed by the greeting and said she didn’t come forward out of fear and concern for her grade.
“I honestly didn’t know how to handle it because it was like, how do I approach my adult teacher on a situation like this? What would that mean for my grade? What would it mean for my future at BLS?” Wornum told the Globe.
“It’s embarrassing, it’s insulting, and I mean, the teacher, that’s just straight ignorance,” the mother told the CBS radio station.
Wornum recalled that the headmaster had little to say following the incident—only recently did the mother receive an apology from Lynne Mooney Teta, who now calls the episode “unacceptable.”
That encounter, which reportedly occurred during Destinee’s sophomore year at the high school, surfaced after the local U.S. Attorney’s office launched a civil rights probe into the school earlier this month.
According to a CBS report, community members and civil rights organizations filed a formal complaint, which alleged multiple instances of racial harassment and discrimination at Boston Latin, which was founded in 1635 and is the oldest public school in the nation.
One case involves a student using a racial slur toward an African-American female classmate and threatening to lynch her, the network reports.
City education officials confirmed to CBS that they are investigating the occurrence involving Wornum’s daughter.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is troubled by the allegation. He spoke with CBS:
“It certainly bothers me tremendously. As soon as our Office of Equity found out about it, they reached out to the parent, I believe, to see if they could talk to the child, and to see the circumstances that happened around there.”
Wornum told WBZ the teacher should be fired: “What is the penalty? There should be something, because you have to draw the line.”
The mayor said to CBS that he will wait until after the investigation to comment on dismissing the teacher.