A Jersey City middle school teacher from Academy 1 was suspended on Monday for making a profane and racist-filled speech towards Black students last week.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Norma Fernandez confirmed to the Hudson Reporter that the incident took place, and that the teacher was referred to Human Resources while an investigation is ongoing.
“We’re extremely disturbed and regret the incident that occurred at Academy 1,” she said. “We are investigating and will follow up and, as permitted by law if it’s confirmed, discipline the teacher for the comments that were made.”
In a recording provided by a parent of one of the students to the Hudson Reporter over the weekend, the teacher was heard swearing at the students and issuing a number of racial stereotypes. The Jersey City Times reported that the incident started because of a dispute between two boys, one of whom was white.
During her speech, the teacher had called the Black community “f****d up” and claimed that that they were “filled with violence.”
“Who’s perpetrating the violence?” she said. “Black on Black. The whites aren’t coming in here shooting you all down, are they? Are they? How many white people came and shot you today? How many white girls are sitting out there waiting to fight you? How many Black girls or Hispanic girls are waiting to fight you?”
At other points during her speech, she had claimed that waiting around for a welfare or Section 8 check was akin to “slavery” and had asked the students if they wanted to be a slave. She also threatened to send the students back to seventh grade again instead of advancing to eighth grade.
Dr. Fernandez said in response to the incident that it may require them to train their staff, and while they had assigned sensitivity training, the teacher in the incident didn’t follow the recommendations.
“We have thousands of educators who do the right thing and support our students,” she said. “Unfortunately, this incident brought out someone who definitely should not be in front of children. Using profanity and in the stereotype types that were shared in that recording are completely unacceptable. It is not our philosophy.”