A high school student named Mary Walton recorded her teacher using the N-word, and yet she somehow got in trouble at her school, Glendale High School in Springfield, Mo.
Mary, now represented by an attorney, Natalie Hull, and supported by her mother, Kate Welborn, is demanding that the district apologize to her for suspending her after she caught her teacher using the N-word on camera twice.
Mary was given a three-day suspension, the school’s maximum punishment, which as of this writing has already ended on May 16, but her mother believes her daughter’s punishment was unjust.
Mary’s mother said officials were not interested in hearing her daughter’s perspective and did not speak directly to the student after the video went viral on social media.
The mother had to inform Mary that she would be suspended, even though the student claims she did not post the video and does not know who exactly did.
When the teacher realized he was being recorded, he allegedly told Mary to “put your phone away,” according to a video reviewed by The Washington Post.
“Then go to the office,” he replied.
Before she recorded the incident on May 9, the unnamed geometry teacher said he had used the N-word several times, prompting the 16-year-old student to record him and catch him in the act twice.
The geometry teacher said he did not like the word, but thought that since Black people use the N-word on themselves, it could be just as bad if a white person did the same.
The Post reported that a student corrected the teacher, telling him that the N-word was used by white people to demean and dehumanize enslaved Black people.
“This kid did what we want people to do — see something, say something,” Hull said. “Now we’re telling students, ‘If you see something, don’t show it, because then you’ll get suspended.’”
School officials, including Principal Josh Groves, who announced on May 15 that the teacher in question no longer works in the district, have condemned the former employee’s actions, but said the reason Mary was suspended was due to a strict “no recording in class” policy, cited in the Springfield Public School Handbook.
In order for her to record anything in class, she would need permission, The Post reported.
“[Officials are] confident that the district appropriately and promptly handled all matters related to what occurred at Glendale,” Groves wrote in an email statement to parents. “We want our schools to be safe and welcoming learning environments. When students have concerns, they should follow the appropriate steps for reporting.”