Teacher at Franklin High resigns after video shows use of racial slur

A Ben Franklin High substitute teacher and assistant coach is on paid leave after a discussion about a racial slur becomes heated in a history class.

NEW ORLEANS – A teacher at Ben Franklin High School has stepped down less than a week after a video hit the internet showing an exchange where the teacher used a racial slur.

“This afternoon, May 9, 2017, the employee submitted his resignation pending administrative action, effective immediately,” said a release from the school. “Additionally, the employee is restricted from campus and school events for the next three years.”

MORE: Ben Franklin teacher on leave after use of slur in class discussion

The full-time substitute teacher, who was only identified by school officials to WWL-TV as Coach Ryan, was in class May 4. That’s when a social media video shows him speaking to a black student, and using the n-word.

“You act like we’re in conversation and you can say the word and I can’t," said Ryan in the video. “The word has become commoditized to where anyone can use it and it’s not a negative connotation”.

The exchange was heated.

“That’s racist …how can you not understand it’s racist for a white man to say n**** to a black man?" said the student in the video. 

Officials said during this school year, two forums on race relations have happened on campus, and as a result of those meetings and this incident, several changes have been made for next school year.

The school said it will provide professional training for all employees at the beginning of the ’17-’18 school year to recognize bias, marginalization, and racism. It also plans on partnering with a local organization to work with both students and faculty on restorative justice, leadership, and advocacy.

The school added three faculty members are organizing a Civil Rights tour for students during the fall break, and the rising senior class officers are also organizing a trip built around community service and building.

“I apologize to the students, parents, faculty, and alumni that a classroom became a place for such unprofessional and unacceptable conduct,” said Dr. Patrick Widhalm, head of the school. “It has reinforced a continuing focus on the responsibility that we have to make Franklin an inclusive, secure, and encouraging place where all students can develop their full academic, social, and personal potential.”

© 2017 WWL-TV


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