KANSAS CITY, Mo. — University Academy fired a teacher and said the teacher would not return to University Academy under any circumstances.
It comes amid an outcry after the high school teacher’s actions at the school.
The teacher was accused of using the N-word in front of students multiple times last month. Someone recorded a video of the teacher using the term.
FOX4 has seen the video in which the teacher said, “just like African Americans call themselves N****.”
In the video, the teacher said it was used in an educational context, saying, “It was said for the purpose of talking about empowerment. So you can either like it, not like it, be upset about it all you like, but ultimately this is a ridiculous conversation.”
Parents accuse University Academy administrators of failing to act quickly after the video made headlines.
In a recent email to parents announcing the teacher’s firing, University Academy called the teacher’s actions “a completely unacceptable and abhorrent incident.”
The incident not only violated school policy, but also does not represent the standard of excellence we expect at the school. We are deeply saddened and sorry for the impact the incident has had on students, parents, alumni, staff and the community. The nature of the incident is contrary to the very mission for which the school was created.University Academy letter to families
“The opening paragraph was really, you know, like a hug,” University Academy Parent Carly Mitchell said. “Like yes, we hear you; this is what happened. It was totally inappropriate.”
Mitchell has a kid at the school and participated in the town hall this month.
“They actually took ownership in that email versus all the other emails that were dismissive and like this is not what it is,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said she applauds the decision that was made but wished parents’ input were a part of the Board of Directors’ next steps.
“They are so use to getting passes that I did think he would be suspended, but I didn’t think it would end in him being terminated, no,” Educator and Advocate Crystal Turner said.
Turner said she used to be a teacher and saw a few instances where white teachers said inappropriate things and weren’t disciplined.
She said the community coming together after the leaked video shows how important it is to stand for children in the community.
“If these people are not listening to you, if these people are not advocating for you, there are other people that will,” Turner said. “I do not mind being misinterpreted as long as justice is being done for our children because they are our next generation.”
University Academy said it would continue to use the incident to identify where mistakes have been made and improve in those areas.
The charter school said it hired a company to conduct an independent investigation. It is also working with a consultant to assess the school. Based on the investigation’s information, University Academy released a plan to improve the school.
The plan includes ensuring students who had the former teacher are not negatively impacted by transitioning to a new teacher.
The superintendent will implement a plan to communicate if a similar incident happens in the future.
The superintendent is also working to develop a plan to address workplace culture so that it is informed and culturally appropriate. The plan will eventually be presented to the University Academy Board to review.
University Academy leadership is required to complete culturally responsive leadership training by Jan. 3, 2023. All employees and students will be required to attend training addressing University Academy’s policies against harassment and discrimination in January and again in March 2023.
University Academy’s mental health response will be reviewed to make sure impacted students are supported. At the same time, the school is searching for a permanent counselor or social worker to work with Upper School students.
Administrators plan to schedule meetings with alumni and students at least twice a year. The Board of Directors will also be required to schedule at least two board meetings a year after 5 p.m. to allow parents and guardians to attend.
The board is also required to review and update certain policies annually.