The mother of an Ohio middle school student has demanded action be taken in an alleged racist incident with his teacher.
Cincinnati reports Mason Middle School teacher Renee Thole won’t face suspension or a termination, but cultural training about her comments to a black child in her class. Tanisha Agee-Bell, the mother of 13-year-old Nathan says the incident happened in December, when her son was pointed out for tardy assignments. The young teen told his mother that Thole said he would face a lynch mob if he didn’t turn in his work. Nathan replied to Thole, “that’s racist.”
Agee-Bell condemned the Social Studies teacher and questioned her leadership in the classroom. “For her not to understand that the words that she said were a direct pull from what has been, what was a practice in the United States, is unacceptable,” Agee-Bell said. “She shouldn’t be in the classroom. She shouldn’t be in the classroom at all.”
“And I’m not saying she should never go back in the classroom, but until she can demonstrate that she understands what the impact of the language that she used and what she did can have, has had on my son, has on his peers and is having on our community, then she doesn’t need to be in the classroom.”
Students returned to school last week with Thole following suit. Paperwork about the incident and the training classes were added to her school records Thursday (Jan. 11). Thole said she didn’t mean it “the way it came out,” and apologized to the child in her statement to the administration.
“I said to him, [..] get to work,” Thole wrote. “Your classmates are tired of you costing them points. When you come in tomorrow without your homework completed, you (sic) classmates are going to be angry and then become a mob who will want to lynch you.”
Thole also made a public apology about the incident.
“I made a public comment, so I would like to make a public apology. Today is a day where we can learn the importance of thinking before you speak,” she said. “If I had just taken two seconds to think before used the world “lynch,” I would have not hurt a student. I didn’t think about all of the ugliness and horrible history surrounding that word before I used it. I am deeply sorry and I hope that you can forgive me.”
Mason City School put out a questionable statement about the incident, liking the confusion of the word “lynch” to African-American students using ni**a to their friends.
“Sometimes these are said out of genuine ignorance. For example, some students contend that they are not being offensive if they say n***a vs. the n-word. As a district, we want to be very clear. We are not OK normalizing racial slurs. Anyone who does so faces disciplinary action,” part of the statement reads. “Our district will continue to invest in training and resources on culturally proficient practices for administrators, educators and classified staff members that lift up our district’s values.”
Agee-Bell told reporters that the training isn’t a clear punishment. “That’s not satisfactory at all,” she said. “I still want her out of the classroom until she gets that training.”