A Utah school district made it clear that it’s never OK for teachers to use the N-word in the classroom. That’s why officials at the Weber School District said they took administrative action against a White teacher, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Holly Frye told the Associated Press that her 14-year-old son sat through a class in which history teacher Douglas Barker spent an entire period in April saying the word, while defining its meaning and history.
What was the context? The South Ogden Junior High teacher used the racially offensive word before showing his eighth-grade students the Civil War movie, Glory. The film is about a Union Army company of Black soldiers during the Civil War.
Barker explained to the AP that he wanted his students to understand why they would hear the N-word in the film and stated to them that the offensive word is inappropriate.
“My intent has never been to offend, only to teach for understanding with historical context,” Barker told the AP.
But Frye, who is Black, told the news wire that nothing in the curriculum permits Barker to discuss the racially charged word.
“If he were at a KKK rally, I guess that would be OK, but he’s in a public school system,” she told the AP.
She said her son now feels unsafe at school.
A school district spokesman stated to the AP that Barker violated its policy, but offered no details about his punishment, citing privacy rights issues. The spokesman also noted that Barker displayed the Confederate flag in his classroom last year, but voluntarily removed it.
Frye said the district didn’t go far enough. She wants all administrators to take sensitivity training and Barker fired. The teacher needs to be taught the lesson, she told the AP.