- An eighth-grade teacher in North Carolina resigned after she was accused of making racist remarks.
- Per students’ accounts, the teacher told Black kids in her class that were it not for the Constitution, they would be her “field slaves.”
- “The inner workings of our school are surrounded by intentional efforts to eliminate implicit and explicit bias,” read a memo from the principal following the incident.
A teacher in North Carolina resigned after word got around that she told Black students in her class that, were it not for the Constitution, they would be her “field slaves.”
The incident, which happened in September, involved an unnamed eighth-grade English teacher at the Winterville Charter Academy, a tuition-free public charter school.
According to reporting from local NBC affiliate WITN-TV, the teacher asked Black students to raise their hands during a lesson about the Constitution. She then told the students who had their hands raised that if not for the Constitution, they would be her “field slaves.”
WITN-TV saw a memo sent out to parents dated September 24 that admitted that there was a “racially insensitive lesson” that resulted in the teacher’s resignation. In the note, Winterville Charter Academy Principal Annastasia Ryan wrote that “culturally sensitive training for the teacher that resigned will be provided, along with proactive training measures for our current and future staff members.”
“Our school culture is built on one of acceptance, love, and respect to serve all children and their families. The inner workings of our school are surrounded by intentional efforts to eliminate implicit and explicit bias,” read Ryan’s October 5 memo.
Colleen Cullison, a spokeswoman for National Heritage Academies, the parent institution of Winterville Charter Academy, told The Denver Gazette that the “school leadership” had responded “immediately” after hearing about the incident.
However, parents of Black kids who go to the school told the AP that the incident involving the teacher was not the first instance of racism at the school.
“A white student had called a Black student a monkey,” Kanisha Tillman, the mother of an eighth-grader at Winterville. “When the Black student educated him on that being racist and him not liking it and not to call him that and asked the teacher for support, the teacher turned around and said to him, ‘Oh, it’s OK. We’re all a little bit racist.'”
Tillman also told the AP that she had heard of another instance of racism from Black parents on a private Facebook group they shared. According to Tillman, a group of Black girls at Winterville were attempting to explain how it is racist to call a person of color a monkey, when an unnamed teacher went up to them and said: “It’s OK, You’re all my little monkeys.”
“I don’t believe the school had no idea before September 20,” Tillman told the AP. “I believe that the school was aware of it and they decided just to keep brushing it off.”
According to the school’s website, Winterville Charter Academy opened in 2015, and currently has 661 students enrolled from kindergarten through eighth grade. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, at least half of the school’s population consists of children who identify as Black or African-American.
Winterville Charter Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.