A High School Teacher Who Allegedly Accused A Student Of Theft By Calling Them An "Ethnic" Is Under Investigation
Systemic racism in the United States affects everyone, but can especially have a detrimental impact on students of color, and their learning environment. It seems like all too often, there are new viral incidents and allegations of teachers and faculty being discriminatory against students of color. Now, according to BuzzFeed News, a high school teacher is reportedly being investigated for allegations that he accused a student of theft by calling them an "ethnic" in a message that was allegedly posted on the whiteboard of the classroom during school hours.
Bustle reached out to both Vernon Parish School District and Pickering High School’s Principal Dana Donaldson about the alleged incident, and will update upon response; in the meantime, Mike Kay, the assistant superintendent of Vernon Parish Schools which Picker High School is part of, told BuzzFeed News in a statement, "Vernon Parish does not condone this behavior or support his statements. As soon as the employee returns to work, we'll be dealing with this as it's a serious matter." He added that the school board launched an investigation into the now-viral alleged incident, and had protocol to deal with teacher misconduct; in a further statement to Louisiana ABC affiliate WGNO, Kay said, “If I do in fact find out that this was done, then we will take swift action on it. It’s a difficult situation, but I can assure you that we will be addressing this, and it will be dealt with severely.” He also told WGNO that he would be speaking to the teacher involved on Monday morning.
BuzzFeed News also requested comment from Randolph "Randy" Perez, the math teacher involved in the alleged incident, but did not hear back from him.
The alleged incident occurred at Pickering High School in Leesville, LA, according WGNO. Pickering student Britny Taylor posted an image of the message to her Facebook page, which allegedly read:
"Welcome to Room 312. To the moronic, self-obsessed ethnic who stole the mouse from the back computer: the fact that you do not know both your parents, and that the so called adults that are caring for you can not afford a five dollar part because they are too busy buying drugs and coring cigars at the Shop-Rite does not change the fact that you are nothing more than a two bit thief and a waste of carbon and oxygen."
According to Taylor's Facebook post, she initially deleted the image, but decided to upload it again. The alleged incident has since gone viral.
"When I first walked [into Perez’s classroom], [Perez] was walking around the class saying whoever took it is probably on food stamps and welfare,” Taylor claimed to BuzzFeed News. She alleged that this was not the first time Perez made disparaging comments aimed at his students, claiming the math teacher called her “white trash” and “dumb” in previous instances. Taylor also told BuzzFeed News she had previously reported Perez’s comments to Principal Donaldson, but that Donaldson allegedly "laughed at her and didn't believe her".
Toree Gradillas, a former Pickering High School student that graduated three years ago, told BuzzFeed News complaints had allegedly been lodged against Perez when she still attended the school, and no disciplinary action was taken against the math teacher. Gradillas said to BuzzFeed News, “If I found out that it was my kid he was speaking to like that, whether it was in a joking manner or not, it's not professional."
While it is unclear what the result of this alleged incident will be, it certainly does shed a light on how necessary it is for schools to already have a code of conduct enacted to help prevent situations like these; students of all socioeconomic backgrounds deserve to feel safe and welcomed in their schools, and no form of racism or discrimination should be tolerated.