Oh, Great! Hometown Waterbury Teacher Calls Student ‘Black Boy’

9 Jun

Great–I brag on my About page, and in a prior post,  Keeping It (Un)Real In The Dirty Water, about growing up in the diverse town of Waterbury, Connecticut.  About going to a high school that had a 40% black student body, and how these experiences helped shape me, and fueled my desire to make positive race relations an important focal point in my life.

And, now this middle school teacher, Kathleen Pyles, had to go ahead and ruin it all by calling one of her students, “black boy!”  Way to go, Kathleen!  Thanks a lot.

And, thanks, Huffington Post, for shedding light on this highly disturbing incident.

Kathleen Pyles, Connecticut Middle School Teacher, Allegedly Made Racist Comment, Called Student ‘Black Boy’

Posted: 06/08/2012 10:53 am Updated: 06/08/2012 2:22 pm

 

Kathleen Pyles

Kathleen Pyles, a math teacher at North End Middle School in Waterbury, Conn., is on paid leave while school officials investigate allegations that she addressed a black student with a racist remark.

Kathleen Pyles, a math teacher at North End Middle School in Waterbury, Conn., is on paid leave while school officials investigate allegations that she addressed a black student with a racist remark.

Parents and the NAACP spoke out during a Board of Education meting Thursday, accusing Pyles of inappropriately calling a student “black boy” when she couldn’t remember his name, WFSB reports.

Officials told the Waterbury Republican-American that Pyles called the boy by the wrong name, and when the student pointed out the mistake, Pyles responded, “How about black boy? Go sit down, black boy.

The incident allegedly occurred in May, and surfaced when another child reported it to his mother, who then took the issue to the school, according to NECN.

“I couldn’t believe it, it was shocking to hear a professional like that, say something like that in a room full of students,” former NAACP President Jimmie Griffin told WTNH. “I couldn’t believe it.”

A number of parents are shocked and outraged, and are calling for Pyles’ dismissal. Waterbury Public Schools COO Paul Guidone tells WFSB that “appropriate action” will be taken if the investigation finds that the allegations against the teacher are true.

“We wish to assure parents that we take this allegation very seriously,” Guidone said. “We do not tolerate or condone the claimed behavior from our staff.”

The alleged incident in Waterbury is just one of several reports of racial insensitivity among the nation’s teachers.

In March, a Virginia high school English teacher allegedly asked the only black student in the class to read a poem in a “blacker” manner.

Jordan Shumate, a ninth-grader at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., says he was reading aloud Langston Hughes’ “Ballad of the Landlord” when teacher Marilyn Bart interrupted him.

She told me, ‘Blacker, Jordan — c’mon, blacker. I thought you were black,'” Shumate told The Washington Post.

In Georgia, parents of Beaver Ridge Elementary School expressed outrage at the school district’s response to reports of slavery being used as examples in math word problems — which included references to violence and abuse.

One question read, “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?”

A teacher responsible for the assignment has since resigned.

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SOURCE:  www.HuffingtonPost.com, Kathleen Pyles, Connecticut Middle School Teacher, Allegedly Made Racist Comment, Called Student, ‘Black Boy’, June 8, 2012

 

2 Responses to “Oh, Great! Hometown Waterbury Teacher Calls Student ‘Black Boy’”

  1. Steve June 9, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    While I agree with you completely on this one (assuming the allegations are found to be factual), whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? As a country, too many of us react to whatever is reported and assume it is true without waiting for all the details to surface (it always reminds me of Don Henley’s lyrics “Is the head dead yet?”. I am not suggesting we give the teacher a hall pass, if she acted as was stated she needs to be held accountable for her actions – there is no excuse for her behavior. All I am saying is don’t play judge, jury, and executioner all at once – otherwise you become as like those you speak out against. Everyone in this country needs to be treated fairly no matter what their race may be.

    • Wendy Jane June 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks, Steve. I hadn’t even thought of that. It is true, we shouldn’t simply react without hearing all the facts. But, then the topic of equal justice in the courts for people of color vs. white people–well, that’s a whole other can of worms.

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