Teacher resigns after accusations of ‘racially insensitive lesson’

Teacher resigns from Winterville Charter Academy after “racially insensitive lesson”
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 11:56 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN/Gray News) – A charter school in North Carolina is under fire for a racially charged school lesson that ended with a teacher’s resignation and alleged bullying by other students.

Parents WITN spoke with said their children were singled out by a teacher in a lesson about the U.S. Constitution.

“She had them raise their hand during a constitutional lesson and reminded them that if it wasn’t for the Constitution, they would be her slaves. Her field slaves,” claimed Kanisha Tillman, whose child was in the classroom.

WITN reports Winterville Charter Academy Principal Annastasia Ryan sent a memo out to eighth grade parents on Sept. 24 admitting there was a “racially insensitive lesson” at the school and that action was taken.

“On Monday evening, it was brought to the attention of school administration that a racially insensitive lesson regarding the importance of the Constitution of the United States was carried out during an English lesson on Constitution Day,” the memo read.

The memo adds that two “racially insensitive words” were reportedly used by several children in the classroom “without appropriate redirection along with inappropriate response from the educator.”

The school told those eighth-grade parents an investigation was conducted and that “the teacher was supported in turning in her resignation and will not be returning on campus.”

“Culturally sensitive training for the teacher that resigned will be provided, along with proactive training measures for our current and future staff members,” the memo said.

On Tuesday, Ryan sent out another letter, this time to all families at the school, addressing social media posts that were garnering angry reactions to what happened.

“As soon as we were made aware of each incident, we immediately took action. The result was a teacher resignation and the children involved being disciplined in accordance with our parent and student handbook,” Ryan wrote in part. “These situations concern us, too. 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 effort to eliminate implicit and explicit bias.”

After reaching out to the school, WITN received a statement from National Heritage Academies, a charter school management company that oversees 90+ schools across the country including, Winterville Charter Academy:

“The school leadership team acted immediately upon learning about a racially insensitive lesson and student remarks and is currently working to address ongoing concerns from parents that racially insensitive student remarks continue. While student and staff privacy rights prevent me from sharing specific details, what I can share is that we will not tolerate racism in our school community and will continue taking swift action that addresses these issues.”

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