Racism reminded everyone of its ugly presence recently at an Alabama high school. A White teacher on Friday actually told a Black student to “turn the N-word tunes off,” referring to Tupac‘s “Dear Mama” song that the child was playing in class at a school in Hoover, a Birmingham suburb.
Students are typically allowed to play music during teacher Teddie Butcher‘s food and nutrition class, Shenita Morrow, parent of the female student and senior who was hatefully reprimanded for the song at Hoover High School, said. Butcher confessed to using the slur, Hoover school superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy confirmed to Alabama Local News. The school is investigating the incident.
The teacher was only placed on paid administrative leave, with several folks outraged over the incident amid a school system segregation battle going on in Alabama. Butcher still has her job, raising the question of how a teacher who openly said the N-word in front of students could not have been immediately fired.
Though Butcher believed there was foul language in the “Dear Mama” version played in class, Morrow disputed that claim. The lyrics contained no profanity, she said.
Butcher was “referring to the song when she used the racial slur,” Morrow said. However, there’s a bigger issue with what the teacher said to the students. The real problem is the “comfort level” that Butcher had in saying that word publicly, pointing to a harmful pattern that has played out in race relations between Whites and Blacks for centuries.
Morrow’s daughter told Butcher just how hurt she was over Butcher having said the slur to her, the parent said.
“After meeting with [Butcher], it’s just baffling to me how someone does not understand the severity of the weight of that word,” Morrow said.
With the outrage directed at Butcher, she “apologized” to the class on Monday, school officials confirmed. A video of the incident had also circulated on Snapchat. Murphy also met with students involved in the incident, Alabama’s News Leader reported.