This week in Missouri, a group of teachers are facing serious backlash after making poor choices during what should have been an innocent game.
It started simply enough with a group of teachers from the Christian School District in Missouri getting together, presumably for professional development and reconnection as more schools resume in-person education.
One of the icebreaker games the teachers performed was "Human Scrabble," where each person is marked with one letter. The goal in each group was to form as many words with as high of a point value as possible.
You can see news coverage of the incident here:
Pastor Raymond Horry, who has two children of his own enrolled in the district, spoke retroactively on what occurred:
"They were running around trying to spell raccoon, but they didn't have the R and the A."
"Raccoon" was a far-cry from what the group of five White female teachers chose to spell, however.
Instead of forming their group into the word "raccoon," they used some of the same letters from that word, to spell out a widely recognized racial slur targeting Black people.
Not only did the five women come up with the word as their answer for the game, but they claimed it also didn't occur to any of the five the word was offensive. It's unclear if it did occur to the person who then took a picture of them together and posted it on social media.
After appearing on social media, some parents stated they also saw the picture posted on the school's website. Principal Jake Ibbetson has since contested that point, however, stating the photo was never posted on their site.
Some parents were very disturbed by the teachers' claims of ignorance.
Pastor Raymond Horry wasn't convinced it was as simple as not being able to spell raccoon.
"I don't believe it, that five Caucasian teachers, not one of them knew that?"
"Maybe one didn't know it, maybe two didn't know it, but all five didn't know it?"
And another parent said this situation was impacting their son.
"He absolutely told me, 'Mom, I'm tired of it, do what you need to do, because this is not fair, and I'm tired of feeling like this'."
One alum and the current basketball coach, John Smith, argued in favor of the teachers.
"This isn't our school. This was a mistake."
"Everybody in the world makes mistakes, everybody in the world has faults, and this is just a little fault that we've had."
"This is not our school. I truly believe that they did not know what they were posting."
A spokesperson for Christian School District said an investigation was underway and promised to do better.
"We recognize that this ill-informed action caused hurt and offense to many students and families in our school and in the wider community."
"We offer no excuse as to why this word was used."
"In a statement to families last night, we apologized for the incident and sought their forgiveness. We also ask that of anyone who has been impacted by this picture."
But two parents said it wasn't enough.
One spoke of their new mistrust in the school:
"I'm angry, and I'm hurt because I trust you with my child."
Another said it was just repeating history.
"It's a blanket statement. It's the same thing."
"We always have to fogive them for their transgressions because they don't know how to handle racial issues."
And Twitter agreed wholeheartedly with these parents.
Some were not buying the teachers didn't know what the word meant.
Others wanted to see immediate action.
@realTuckFrumper @TeaPainUSA As a retired teacher, there is no excuse for this. Fire them!— tc16 (@tc16) 1614882077.0
It's unclear at this time what will be uncovered during the investigation.
But it is clear further professional development needs to occur, so teachers cannot claim they "didn't know."