Oregon Teacher Resigns After Telling Biracial Student She's Lucky She's Not Making Her 'Pick Cotton'
A teacher at Linwood Elementary School in Milwaukie resigned after telling a biracial student that she was "lucky I’m not making you pick cotton and clean my house."
An Oregon teacher who made racist comments toward a group of biracial students on May 31 has decided to resign after being put on leave last week.
Jasmyn Spencer, an 11-year-old biracial student at Linwood Elementary School in Milwaukie, Oregon, says she was sitting at lunch with other minority students when a teacher yelled at them for misbehaving.
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“The teacher was like, you’re lucky I’m not making you pick cotton and clean my house and stuff like that,” Jasmyn told TV station KGW8.
“It made me feel really sad and targeted.”
Her mother Syreeta Spencer said she was devastated when Jasmyn told her what happened and immediately went to the school to confront the principal about it.
"If she were to curse at the kids or yell at them, that’s forgivable and we can work past that," Spencer said to KGW8.
"To say something about picking cotton and cleaning and painting houses, that’s deeper than that and it’s not something that just slips out."
Acting Principal Rosina Hardy initially told parents at the school that they "know that the impact has been hurtful and emotional for our students. We deeply regret this impact and will continue to work with our students to make sure that they are heard and feel supported."
The North Clackamas School District released another statement yesterday about the situation offering community meetings and discussions on the issue.
"We know and understand that the impact of words spoken can be hurtful for our students and that was the case in this situation. I deeply regret this impact and will continue to work with our students and school community to make sure they are heard and feel supported," they said in the statement.
But Spencer says that at first, the school said the teacher would only be removed from watching over that class. They only placed the teacher on leave and eventually forced the person to resign after her interview with KGW8 went viral.
Last week the school sent out a letter from the teacher, who still has not been named.
“I realize what I said was a harsh lesson for young children on the realities of racism, which unfairly damages individuals, communities, and our larger society,” the letter says.
“I know I betrayed your trust and failed to conduct myself in a way aligned with your expectations, the expectations of North Clackamas Schools, to say nothing of betraying my own integrity. I wish I could take back what I said, but I cannot.”