O'FALLON, ILL. - A Metro East school district issued an apology after a teacher made racial comments to her students. Parents said at least two children were referred to as slaves.
The school board of the Central School District No. 104 held a special meeting Thursday night to discuss the issue and vote on disciplinary action against the teacher.
The incident happened on Jan. 18 at Joseph Arthur Middle School. Parents said a teacher referred to two students as “slave no. 1” and “slave no. 4”. The students are of mixed ethnicity.
“To think that we’re in 2017 and this is still going on, it’s very disappointing," said Stephanie Afogho, the mother of a 12-year-old girl. "This is very discouraging that you have these racial remarks made to your child."
Afogho said her daughter has been struggling emotionally and academically since the incident. She also said she wants the teacher to personally apologize to her daughter.
Afogho and other parents first brought their concerns to the superintendent, and later to the school board earlier this week. They received a letter of apology from the district. Thursday night, the school board announced the teacher will be disciplined. However, because of policy, the district cannot specify the type of discipline.
A school board member read a statement during the meeting.
“To the families and particularly children, we wish to extend sincere apologies. In no way, do these remarks reflect the beliefs of this district,” said Sarah Svoboda, a Central School District board member.
Parents also urged the school board to provide more diversity training for students and staff, and hire more minority teachers and staff.
(© 2017 KSDK)