LOCUST GROVE, Ga. — Students at Luella High School, in Locust Grove in Henry County, are demanding that teachers who used the N-word in front of them in class be fired.
The school superintendent’s office is confirming that at least two teachers are being disciplined, but cannot disclose what the punishment is.
On Thursday, students protested inside the school.
Luella H.S. 11th grader Christopher Wright and 10th grader Shellease Stafford said one of the teachers, who is white, would not stop using the word in front of students one day last week.
“And people didn’t like it, so she kept saying it over and over again,” Christopher said.
“She’s not supposed to use that word in front of us because it’s really a racial slur to us,” Shellease said. “She was saying, like, ‘you can say it, I could say it, it’s just a word,’ and everything. And the students were, like, ‘no, you cannot say that because I don’t feel comfortable with you saying that.’ She was, like, ‘no, but it’s just a word.’”
Students reported the teacher to the principal, who they said offered an apology on the intercom a week later.
However, students - Black and white - are demanding more.
“She should be fired and shouldn’t be able to use that word ever again. Not even in public or around other Black people" inside or outside the school, Christopher said of the teacher whose comments he heard.
“It’s disrespect, you should respect our feelings,” Shellease said. “Just because you don’t feel that way doesn’t mean we don’t feel that way.”
On Thursday, the Henry County school superintendent’s office emailed 11Alive a statement:
“School administrators were recently made aware of some highly inappropriate and unacceptable word choices by some members of the faculty at Luella High School. Employment action has been taken against the employees, and while we cannot go into further details about any teacher discipline as the information is protected by law, Henry County Schools in no way, shape, or form condones the actions that have been alleged, and that is why a thorough investigation was called for to get to the bottom of the matter.”
Students are considering more protests, and say they found out during Thursday's demonstration that they have the support of teachers and administrators at Luella High School.
“The teachers and administrators were actually supporting us, that was surprising,” Shellease said. “We thought that they were going to write everyone up, and they were going to send everyone back to class. But they made sure we stayed, and, like, ‘it’s okay to do that, you speak for what you think is right.’”