Black Teen Says White Teacher Told Him To Say “Yes Sir, Master”
High school student Jabre White said he was stunned and angry when he claims his teacher implied White was his slave and the teacher was his master.
Via Des Moines Register reports:
Roosevelt High School teacher Shawn McCurtain told the class of students to head downstairs to take their final in economics.
“Yes, sir,” senior Jabre White recalls telling him. “You meant to say, ‘Yes, sir, master,’ ” McCurtain allegedly shot back.
That comment stunned, hurt and angered White, a popular senior at the west-side Des Moines high school that had 1,708 students last school year. It troubled his mother even more.
Nicholle White of West Des Moines contacted the Reader’s Watchdog, wanting to know why school officials would not disclose how they responded after the educator was said to have used a slur reminiscent of the slave era.
“I have tried to be humble,” she said of her dealings with school officials. “But I also feel I need to express as a mother, and as a black woman, how I feel.”
After she found out about the exchange in mid-May, White said, she asked school officials to look into it. According to emails she forwarded to the Watchdog, Vice Principal Joseph Blazevich investigated and confirmed the comment was made.
Blazevich wrote to White that he thought the incident was “terrible” and “shameful,” and added that “the instructor was very remorseful.” However, he noted that he could not say what disciplinary action was pursued because district personnel matters are confidential under state law.
District officials don’t deny the comment happened, either. Spokesman Phil Roeder said district policy clearly bars any form of discrimination, including comments, by an employee toward a student. “To put it mildly, it was wrong in every way you look at it,” he said.
Roeder also confirmed McCurtain is still employed by the district. McCurtain couldn’t be reached at his district email, and his phone number was unlisted.
White said she reached out to the school board this month because she fears the matter was handled lightly and believes the remark warranted more than a reprimand in McCurtain’s file. She said she thinks the teacher needs to undergo diversity training — or if he’s already had some, more.
Blazevich said all school employees are required to take cultural-competency training that helps them relate with students from a variety of socioeconomic and racial backgrounds.
White said she plans to contact the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the NAACP.
If you’re an educator then leave the racist humor to the professionals next time. Leave the jokes to the real comedians.
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