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Teacher Resigns After Telling Black Students They Would Be Her 'Field Slaves' If Not For The Constitution

Teacher Resigns After Telling Black Students They Would Be Her 'Field Slaves' If Not For The Constitution

A North Carolina charter school is facing the ire of parents after a teacher's racially charged history lesson led to her resignation.

The former teacher allegedly told the Black students in the classroom a racist role they would have played were it not for the U.S. Constitution.

Kanisha Tillman, a parent whose child is a student at Winterville Charter Academy and was in the classroom that day, said of the teacher:

"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."

WITN reported Winterville Charter Academy Principal, Annastasia Ryan, sent a memo out to the parents of the eight-graders in the school on September 24th.

She apprised them that a "racially insensitive lesson" took place and action was taken.

Her memo read:

"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 said an investigation was conducted and "the teacher was supported in turning in her resignation and will not be returning on campus."

The incident brought to light other racist-related incidents at the school.

Tillman said a parent texted her on September 20, alerting her to the fact the same teacher in question had been treating the Black and White students differently.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Tillman relayed her son's account of how the teacher downplayed a bullying complaint.

"A White student had called a Black student a monkey," she said, in addition to the use of the n-word.

"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.'"

In response to the dismissal of the White student's offensive comment, the Black student retaliated by calling the White student "a cracker," to which the teacher responded with a threat to write up the Black student.

The incident was among many others reported on a Facebook group page for parents of the school.

Ryan additionally sent out a statement to all families of the school on October 5, which read, in part:

"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."
"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."

She also said that another recent situation of a racially insensitive student remark is being investigated.

After WITN reached out to the school, the National Heritage Academies—a charter school management company that oversees 90+ schools across the country, including Winterville Charter Academy—sent the following statement:
"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."

The faculty plans to give culturally sensitive training to the teacher that resigned in addition to proactive training measures for current and future staff members.