Flier using N-word given to high school students, raises questions

By: Hope Jensen Email
By: Hope Jensen Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, Feb. 15, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A flier a teacher wanted certain students to sign is raising eyebrows. As we celebrate Black History Month, one parent says the flier is offensive and the language is inappropriate.

"She wanted my child to sign her name right there," said Rosa Jennings as she pointed at the signature line.

She says she was appalled when her daughter, a junior at Josey High School, brought home the flier.

"When she brought it to me, I couldn't believe a teacher would do something like that. I was very disappointed," she said.

"Once I looked at it, I just could believe it," said her daughter, Delicia. "I was like, 'Wow.'"

Earlier this week, Delicia says one of her teachers gave her the form and asked her to sign it.

"She chose, I guess, a good woman for black history, which was Rosa Parks, and a good man, which is Martin Luther King, and if she gave it to a boy, she basically said that it was a disgrace to Martin Luther King's dream, and if she gave it to a girl, that means you were a disgrace to Rosa Parks," Delicia said.

The flier says "Rosa Parks was an N-word if ..." and asks the students to sign underneath a statement saying, "I have this letter because my actions, my life and my ways show that Rosa Parks wasted her time. Thanks for nothing my N-word. Why did you do such a thing? Here's my signature to prove you wasted your time, Rosa."

"To me it's degrading to the child, it's degrading to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King," Rosa said. "To me, it's degrading to everybody black or white. It doesn't matter the color that the person is, you shouldn't do anything like that."

The N-word right there on the paper makes it that much worse.

"We teach our children not to say that, some of those words and their teacher is putting it on a paper," Rosa said. "I just can't believe it."

The principal at Josey High School says he's looking into the situation and will set up a meeting with the teacher next week to figure out exactly how the papers fit into her curriculum.

"I wanna see the curriculum and the lesson plan, I want to know what we are supposed to be being taught," Delicia said.

Rosa says shes not sure what she wants, but she thinks it should start with an apology.

"I honestly believe she needs to apologize to those children because some of those kids actually signed that paper," Rosa said.

When News 12's Hope Jensen asked Delicia if she would sign the paper, she said, "No ... simple as that."

A meeting is set up with the teacher for Wednesday when they get back from their furlough days Monday and Tuesday. On Friday, the principal said the instructional team is already reviewing all plans and curriculum resources for appropriateness. He says he does not want to go on camera until they have all the facts and details about the situation.

He told News 12 the teacher is an African-American woman with 26 years of teaching experience and is certified at the highest state level.

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