A superintendent will apologize and teachers will get cultural sensitivity training after a black student was offended by a lesson on “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” that included a racial slur.
Those agreements were reached Wednesday after a 90-minute meeting between Richland High School officials, the 11th-grader, his parents and a coalition of activists. They were upset by a teacher’s repeated use of a racial slur last week during a lesson preparing students to read the classic 1884 Mark Twain novel, which includes the slur.
Ibrahim Mohamed, 17, was the only black student in the class during the lesson in which students were to discuss hurtful statements and how context can affect a word’s meaning. Birdville school district officials said the exercise was part of a new curriculum designed to put such powerful words in proper context and was not meant to offend anyone.
But the teacher “badgered” him after denying his request to remove the word from the chalkboard or replace it with “N-word,” and she continued to say the slur during class, said his mother, Tunya Mohamed. The teen said he felt singled out when the teacher asked if the word offended him and said, “It hurts — doesn’t it?”
The district has allowed Mohamed to enroll in a different English class. Officials have since removed the book from his class, but his parents say they will request its removal from the district’s curriculum.
The family is still deciding whether the teen will stay at the school in the Fort Worth suburb or return to a high school in another district he attended last year. But the teen said he felt good about the meeting Wednesday between members of a new group, the Coalition to Stop the N-Word, and Birdville schools administrators. (MORE)