Racial tension in Barnwell after two alleged slurs

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News 12 First at Five, December 14, 2007

BARNWELL, S.C. - "Get a new teacher."

That's what Aalaiyha Ford, a 7th grader at Guinyard Butler Middle School, says needs to happen after a teacher allegedly used a racial slur toward another student in the school, 12-year old Jaylen Dunbar.

"I heard that the teacher said that she called him a 'n' word and I was like that was weird for a teacher to say," said Ford.

When News 12 sparked an investigation into the incident, Jaylen was moved to a different classroom, but his mother, Yanette Dunbar, wants action taken against the teacher and so do other parents in the community.

"Right is right and wrong is wrong...and I think if that did happen--that's wrong," said Evelyn Ford, Aalaiyha's grandmother, "It's a lot of stuff they're sweeping under the rug."

More potential racial tension in Barnwell, including a formal complaint against the City of Barnwell claiming a city water supervisor also used a racial slur against a co-worker.

Folks in the community say it happens a lot, but people are afraid to talk about it.

"I'm not in a position to do anything about it. I know a lot of things, but I just keep my mouth closed," explained Evelyn.

Back at the middle school, News 12 tried for the second time to talk to the principal about the use of the racial slur. We were told by his assistant, "The principal is in a meeting." Seconds later we found him outside. His response, again, was that he "can't talk about the situation."

But students and the community are talking, saying they can't imagine it happening to them.

"I would feel like I didn't want to talk to her anymore or be in her class," said Aalaiyha. "Other students were really mad about that too."

"Something has to be done because our future are our children," said Evelyn. "If this person can do it and get away with it...It's going to go somewhere else because there's always going to be a copycat."

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