Gwinnett mother upset with how school handled alleged racial rant by teacher

SUGAR HILL, Ga. – A Gwinnett County mother is upset over how a middle school teacher’s alleged racist rant has been treated by the school’s administration.

According to mother Kimberly Cooper, last week, during a before-school intramural sports activity at Lanier Middle School, the supervising teacher became upset that students left the activity area early, and yelled at the students.

Cooper says the yelling was so loud that the school’s principal, Todd Hamilton, heard it, and took the teacher into an office for an extended period time to calm her down.

Hours later, after 12 p.m., Cooper said, her son went to the same teacher’s classroom for a health class. During the class, the teacher launched into an hour-long tirade about how “these black kids” were disrespectful and improperly raised. Cooper said her son asked the teacher what she was referring to, and she said that the teacher referred specifically to the morning’s incident.

After Cooper and other parents emailed Hamilton to discuss the incident, feeling the instructor’s comments were inappropriate, an email was sent to parents regarding the incident. Hamilton sent a letter out to all Lanier parents informing them of the incident and actions that the school had taken.

“We were notified by several parents that a teacher allegedly raised her voice with students raised her voice with students after an intramurals class and then later led a class discussion about the incident making inappropriate comments,” Hamilton’s letter said. “The parents reported that this incident made their students uncomfortable and cause them concern.”

Without naming the teacher, Hamilton’s letter went on to note that Gwinnett County Public Schools Human Resources had launched an investigation into the incident.

“Respect is one of our key mottos here at Lanier Middle. And, just as we expect students to respect teachers, we expect our staff members to respect students,” the letter said. “I wanted to make you aware of this situation and that it has been handled appropriately.”

Cooper said she is not comfortable that the situation has been handled to her satisfaction. She said that while the teacher has not been in the classroom since the incident, she does not feel that that particular instructor should be permitted to return to the school if her comments are indicative of her feelings - and if her tirade is allowed to stand.

“If I were to act that way in my workplace, I would not be allowed to remain there; I would have been fired,” Cooper said. “And no doubt, that is what would happen with most people.”

Gwinnett County school officials would not comment on the story, noting that they cannot share information relating to an open Human Resources investigation. 

(© 2016 WXIA)


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