Teacher suspended for likening student to slave

We live in an era where many kids don’t remember a time before smart phones, data plans and social media.  As a result, teachers work in environments where their actions could quickly land them on social media.  So, to me, it begs the question: when a teacher does wrong in a classroom, are they doing so because they think no one’s recording it or are they doing so because they think what they are doing is acceptable?

A teacher at Apex Middle School (Apex, North Carolina) was suspended after a video, posted to Snapchat, showed him likening one of his African American students to a slave.  The 13-year-old was laughing at another classmate who was dancing in the room and the teacher took him to task.  In the video, the teacher is heard saying the following:

“Did I call you a ‘n*****?’ No, I said you are being controlled, by kids. That is exactly what happened to the slaves. They were controlled by their owners, you’re letting him control you and you’re the one who’s getting in trouble.”

The boy’s mother, Ayona Wilson, says her son was humiliated by the experience and she is hurt by what happened.  She expressed that, particularly in a predominately-white school, singling out an African-American child in that way is troubling.  They young mans said the teacher could have used a different analogy to convey his point.  Ayona Wilson has since pulled her son from the school.

Apex Middle School’s principal sent out a message to families in response to this incident.  The teacher is not named but, the text of the statement reads, in part:

This morning I became aware of a video that showing a teacher arguing with a student. I immediately contacted the WCPSS Human Resources department because the language used by the teacher raised concerns. They, in turn, suspended the teacher pending an investigation.


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An opinionated technologist, JP launched Death By Social Media when he saw just how easily and how often people's misunderstanding/abuse of social media created personal catastrophes. As a result, he wanted to provide a resource that would provide cautionary tales for those seeking to avoid similar fates.