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Richmond County teacher reprimanded over fliers containing racial slur

Thursday, March 14, 2013 7:50 PM
Last updated Friday, March 15, 2013 2:04 AM
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Richmond County school Super­intendent Frank Roberson issued a written reprimand Tuesday to a T.W. Josey Comprehensive High School English/language arts teacher who distributed two handouts with racial slurs to students in February.

Lori Myles did not sign the letter of reprimand and will now appeal.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Lori Myles did not sign the letter of reprimand and will now appeal.

The fliers, using a slur commonly known as the N-word, were apparently intended to “shame these students by indicating their behavior was an affront to the memories and brave examples of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks,” Roberson’s letter stated.

One handout showed a photo of King being arrested and stated “MLK was a (slur) if … he wasted his time!”

There is space on the bottom for the student to sign and date the flier to acknowledge, “I have this letter because my actions, my life and my ways show that Martin Luther King wasted his time! Thanks for nothing, My (slur)!”

The other flier describes Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on an Alabama bus in 1955, along with her mug shot after her arrest. It states: “She sat down with a made up mind … so I wouldn’t have to live with the name (slur).”

Roberson stated in the reprimand that the manner in which the teacher, Lori Myles, chose to correct students who misbehave was astonishing, unprofessional, uncalled for and inappropriate. Myles, a teacher who has 26 years of experience and is black, said she was trying to get students to understand the hate and depth of the word and how it should never be used, especially today.

“Our students’ daily culture is to use the word (racial slur) for friends, as a regular, everyday word,” Miles said. “I still feel like it was a good lesson. I have students now correcting others and correcting themselves. I’ve heard guys say, ‘Call me anything, but don’t call me that.’ ”

Myles did not sign the letter of reprimand and will now appeal the discipline to the school board, she said.

Though she acknowledged she did not seek approval to use the fliers in the classroom, Myles said students are exposed to the same slur in the high school curriculum. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, an optional part of the 11th-grade curriculum in Richmond County, uses the word 219 times.

Myles said she did not give the flier to any particular student but displayed it on an overhead projector for the class to see.

According to students interviewed by school officials, the letter was handed out to a select few.

“The students that received the letter were having disciplinary problems in the class,” according to the notes written by “the discipline team” at Josey. “The students were given the letter at the beginning of class and were asked to sign it. The students that received the letter were upset and thought that the letter wasn’t warranted.”

In a letter of advisement from Principal Ronald Wiggins to Myles Feb. 26, he said it does not matter if the flier’s intent was for discipline or classroom work.

“It does not matter the purpose, the documents are outside the state curriculum, does not comply with board policy for outside sources and the wording is inappropriate for young people whom you are attempting to build an educational community,” Wiggins wrote.

Roberson wrote that he assumed Myles’ behavior was “without racial animus” but was degrading and has “no place in our schools or classrooms.”

Myles said her point was to show that the word has no place in casual conversation, textbooks or anywhere else.

“It was a lesson,” Myles said. “If we think (the slur) is acceptable at any time, then we are doing just as the flier says. We are desecrating the memory.”

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Dixieman
13878
Points
Dixieman 03/14/13 - 09:09 pm
27
2
DUMB

Administrators. This was a brilliant lesson and teaching technique! She ought to get a reward, not a reprimand! (I do not use this word in conversation or writing, but what she did was purely in the interest of teaching its significance and some good lessons - an entirely appropriate thing to do!)

JRC2024
8284
Points
JRC2024 03/14/13 - 09:15 pm
25
4
I have always wondered why it

I have always wondered why it was alright for a black person to use the word and call each other the name but let someone of another race use it and they are ready to fight. Such hyprocracy. If that had been a white teacher she would have been shown the door. Just listen to that horrible rap crap and you will hear all kinds of degrading remarks and it seems to be ok with black kids. Wake up and get on a different social and in interlect level so you will not be left behind and will get a decent job.

Darby
24763
Points
Darby 03/14/13 - 09:49 pm
21
0
No one should be challenged...

for the use of that word or any word or phrase when it's use is to inform or educate.

The current condemnation of those who use a word in an intellectual setting is nothing more than a control device used by the politically correct simply to empower themselves over others.

It's time for that kind of silliness to end..

If this is the worst thing Roberson can come up with, he owes that lady an apology. Maybe even a nomination for Teacher of the Year.

WeAreAllInfected
111
Points
WeAreAllInfected 03/14/13 - 10:32 pm
21
0
I like her style.

I like her style.

dichotomy
31692
Points
dichotomy 03/14/13 - 10:36 pm
17
1
"Administrators. This was a

"Administrators. This was a brilliant lesson and teaching technique!"

I agree in principle. However, if a white teacher had used this method to try and make the same point to black students the unemployment door would have already hit them in butt in order to pacify the irate parents and quell the riot.

paladin5
299
Points
paladin5 03/14/13 - 11:03 pm
19
0
AWESOME....CONGRATULATIONS

Congratulations to TEACHER Lori Myles for going the Extra Hard Mile in trying to teach her students in a way that they might listen and become aware of what they are doing to themselves. If some of the students are now challenging and asking their peers to not call them the SLUR, then the effort obviously affected some students and made them step up their self-esteem.

Sure beats "Ok Kids, you shouldn't talk like that". Acknowledge the Reprimand, but be aware you made a Dent in our Wimpy Academic World of today.....Courage to Change the Things that need Changing.

Bizkit
30357
Points
Bizkit 03/14/13 - 11:10 pm
1
8
The semantics has changed.

The semantics has changed. Like gay use to be happy and the n word was a derogatory racial slur. Now it is just a term identifying a personality and not a race. Every ethnicity is using the term in slang culture so it isn't racial. Like the swastika isn't just a Nazi symbol but now that is what it is associated with. When an African american has to explain to african american kids the term is derogatory towards race then you see my point. The kids don't have a clue it negative about their ethnicity.

itsanotherday1
41408
Points
itsanotherday1 03/14/13 - 11:14 pm
18
0
Out of the box thinking.

Nothing else seems to be getting to some of these kids. Kudos to her for thinking outside of the box and trying a different tack.

Austin Rhodes
2852
Points
Austin Rhodes 03/14/13 - 11:36 pm
17
3
Huge overreaction...

...for a good woman clearly trying to do the right thing.

WAY over the line in the tone of the reprimand...damn shame!

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 03/14/13 - 11:55 pm
0
0
To those supporting this
Unpublished

To those supporting this teacher: aren't there reprimands for misbehavior that are sanctioned by the administration? Shouldn't she have checked with her principal prior to unilaterally taking such action? Shouldn't a teacher with 26 years of experience know better?

jbenny2010
253
Points
jbenny2010 03/14/13 - 11:58 pm
17
0
Wait. . .

The RCBOE is being sued by two Glenn Hills High School employees for the antics of Dr. Wayne Frazier, who often used profanity, threats, rants over the intercom, interrupted classes during state testing, signed off on the financial transactions of the thousands of dollars stolen by the former bookkeeper, DUI and simply got a slap on the wrist. . . Lori Myles simply used a creative method for getting a point across and is being vilified???? Come on RCBOE!!! Instead of wasting time, clean house of the folks who are really dragging the system down!

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 03/15/13 - 12:02 am
16
0
Administration gone wild

I'm certain that there are at least some people here who understand and realize that the "n" word (how ridiculous that we even have to say that) was a colloquial that represented, originally, the word negroid which is a race of people whose skin is dark. Over time it was slurred into the "n" word and also came, in the minds of some, to be a derogatory term. This teacher was speaking to her students in language that THEY understand; if she's been in the classroom for 26 years she KNOWS students. How long has Mr Roberson been in HIS position? Is he so restrained by political correctness that he couldn't stand UP for this teacher rather than reprimand her? The citizens of Richmond County need to issue a reprimand to HIM, plain and simple and not so politically correct. How absurd!

LeConteSkier
483
Points
LeConteSkier 03/15/13 - 12:04 am
16
2
Strike that word

The worst word in the English language is the N word and should be blotted from the English language. I have to say that the teacher made an amazing point by making the students aware of the dark hateful history behind this word. The N word under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should be used in social settings. Like she said, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr just to name a select few gave THEIR LIFE to earn respect in society and to use the word as being cool is just spitting on their grave! Chew on that for a while.

rebellious
20514
Points
rebellious 03/15/13 - 12:29 am
19
1
Bizkit

Do you really believe this statement?:"The kids don't have a clue it negative about their ethnicity."

If a white person had called any of these kids by that name, it would have been Travon Martin all again.

They know, and revel in the use of it when another segment of the population had better not.

Wake up and smell the coffee with your Bisquit!

Kudo's to Ms. Myles. Since a sharp slap up beside the head, like their Grandma would have done, is out of the question, this is the next best thing

Dr. Roberson is receiving bad advise and counsel.

specsta
6297
Points
specsta 03/15/13 - 01:02 am
17
1
Overreaction

Hats off to Lori Myles for trying to get these young kids to understand that their behavior is an insult to the sacrifices and achievements of civil rights pioneers like Dr. King, Rosa Parks and Medgar Evers.

Too many people died for the right to be treated equally, free from racial animosity. Many of these kids have no clue about the sacrifices that were made in the struggle for equality and think it is no big deal to use racial slurs and listen to music that contains constant racially derogatory references.

Instead of condemning Mrs. Myles, she should be saluted and honored for her actions to try and get some knowledge into some of these clueless kids.

eschamb
154
Points
eschamb 03/15/13 - 01:07 am
9
0
The word Negro

I read online that the latest census there were thousands if individuals whoe wrote in the word, Negro as their race. There is a certain group of people that use the word Negro on a daily basis, yet when a white person says it, the world comes to a still. That is what Mrs. Myles was teaching, ignorance.

whyme
1593
Points
whyme 03/15/13 - 01:15 am
5
5
different standards

When I first read the article, I thought, "uh, oh, this is not going to be good", making the assumption that the teacher was white and there was going to be a slew of hate-filled comments on here about her racist remarks and the need to take her license and punish her severely. Instead, the teacher is black and is earning kudos on here for her innovative teaching methods. I applaud the superintendent for addressing this behavior no matter what her race was. The continued double standards, if you will, keep us from moving forward with racial unity and growth as Americans. I think that there are other ways to highlight the contributions of peace-seekers, both black and white.

Truth Matters
6477
Points
Truth Matters 03/15/13 - 04:47 am
4
6
Slur

No one should use a racial slur, but I think the reason people of the same color understand this is for the same reason I can't call your wife or husband a derogatory name. a family member can get away with a lot that a stranger can not. Hey, that's not rocket science, people, so let's stop pretending we do not get it. while traveling recently I heard the locals use terms that I knew NOT to use if I wanted to get back home in one piece. Is that a social more that many accept? Again we should not engage in name calling on any level but if I heard a Jewish person in anger use a term to insult anther Jew, what in the world would make me think it would be okay for me to also insult him or her?

Truth Matters
6477
Points
Truth Matters 03/15/13 - 04:54 am
3
3
Teacher

I forgot to say that sometimes political correctness is preferred for the reason @whyme stated. Hopefully this teacher will eventually see that consistency in expectation is best for the students. That's hard to say as I know this teacher and she is one class act; she is sharp and I am willing to bet can brainstorm lots of other ways to make her point.

The students and parents are lucky to have her in that school.

nocnoc
40435
Points
nocnoc 03/15/13 - 06:11 am
5
4
A nasty double standard that

A nasty double standard that needed to be stopped immediately.

What if a White, Asian or Hispanic teacher had use the word in the exact in the same way? The court house steps and the Nation Guard could not contain the mob.

Yes I understand where she was headed with the lesson, but, it was strictly racial. Or does she not have "Other" students?

So if the word is to be BANNED, let us all BAN the use, with NO Exceptions.

That includes the sneaky uses and applications.
e.g. like in the naming of the pants below the butt, the very word spelled in reverse.

seenitB4
84282
Points
seenitB4 03/15/13 - 06:42 am
6
2
Waste my time on here

Same O same O

Ok in one spot but not in another,....good thing I'm not teaching ....I know some cuss words...

Fiat_Lux
15004
Points
Fiat_Lux 03/15/13 - 07:52 am
10
1
Applaud her motives and creativity, but...

she should have gotten another set of discerning, objective eyes on it before forging ahead. It was a great idea from, clearly, a plugged in, caring educator; it wasn't the best way to do what she realized needed to be done. I agree with the administrators on this assessment, but not with the official reprimand. This is one that should have been handled with a much lower tone, ie:

"Great idea, but don't use that flyer at school, and please run your next idea past me for a sniff test first. You're doing a wonderful job and we're lucky to have you mentoring our kids."

Areas of social intercourse that are as sensitive as this area always need to be addressed with almost transcendent wisdom.

bigj706
1097
Points
bigj706 03/15/13 - 08:16 am
1
6
"A nasty double standard that

"A nasty double standard that needed to be stopped immediately.

What if a White, Asian or Hispanic teacher had use the word in the exact in the same way"

Thats the point White Asian, or Hispanic wouldnt know the hurt it caused for years and what sacrifice that everyone in those times had to put up with just to have kids in the future to think its cool to say it takes someone from that time or with knowledge to educate how it was and how it felt.

LillyfromtheMills
12855
Points
LillyfromtheMills 03/15/13 - 08:17 am
8
1
The little punks

win again -

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 03/15/13 - 08:22 am
0
0
lets see she attempted to
Unpublished

lets see she attempted to modify bad behavior by relating to these monkeys in a way they are most familiar with. now if it was a rapper/poet like common (yeah some role model) who used the word then he would have been applauded and lauded as someone the students should aspire to be like. but let a teacher who works in one of, if not the worst school in the county attempt to teach and show them famous civil rights icons strove to overcome barriers in society and how they carried themselves with great dignity and respect and she gets in trouble. chances are the mammies of the two children(they probably live near josey, josey is a title I school) whose only employment is "waitin on a gubment check" probably complained and now will look for a lawyer to try and sue the school district because "dey dem white folk an da teecha shamed-did my child and be not aint shoul not have did dat to my child" of course the child is probably illiterate lacking the basic skills to read, comprehend, add (except for rock), or write his/her name (probably just use an "X"). she teaches in a school where fights, assualts, and other dangerous actions occur on a daily basis and this fool roberson had the nerve to say in the repremand regarding her actions "chose to correct students who misbehave was astonishing, unprofessional, uncalled for and inappropriate" the stroke or bleeding on the brain, aneurysm or whatever medical condition he had has caused him to lose all common sense, if he had any from the beginning. this woman is in a position that i don't envy her at all she chose to go into a zoo and become a trainer for the monkeys and apes that go there. they don't go to get an education, they are sent their by the "gubment living off of, welfare/food stamp EBT, wlefare queen mammies" who want nothing more than the next "gubment" check and their chillin have very little ambition or motivation to learn or achieve higher than grad-e-ating so dey can git dey gubment check and project housing. so this idiot reprimands the teacher for doing nothing more than being imiginative in an attempt to reach them to make them understand the importance of an education and the opportunities it provides instead of the path they are on of unwed pregnancy, single parent birth, crime, poverty, and government dependence but i guess goof-ball roberson sees theing a bit differently from his ivory tower...hey roberson why don't you come down off your throne and teach for one school year in that hell-hole called T. W. Josey Comprehensive High School....you idiot...

Itsallnew11
547
Points
Itsallnew11 03/15/13 - 08:42 am
2
1
I disagree...

She made a great point and a great example of the hatred attached to the use of the word. I do disagree with her asking the students to sign the papers. Being made an example of infront of your peers is degrading. Even when they may have deserved it. I disagree with that part but agree with all else. It is an offensive word and should not be used.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 03/15/13 - 09:10 am
0
10
The Typical Racial Comment From Hank
Unpublished

I agree with Tryth Matters.

Django and Huck Finn.

Some gays and females call their other gay friends and female friends the B-Word......when used then, is the intent negative? NO.
It is what it is.

The problem is: White people don't like being out of the "loop".

The teacher is correct in correcting the kids, yet, its in the culture of modern youth, and it doesn't have the same meaning when used by these youths.

A real techer would have had a sit down with the students and asked the whos, whats, wheres, whens, and whys dealing with that term.

The word has a double meaning.....depends on who and how it is being used.

Where is the outcry about Huck Finn??? Or is it ok when used, then. Or how about when used in Django??? No outcry.
^
Double Standard

belle
303
Points
belle 03/15/13 - 09:32 am
0
0
Method was uncomfortable
Unpublished

This teacher's method was uncomfortable. But I applaud her for it. ONLY a black woman would have been listened to on this subject so no, a white woman could not have done it. We have to stop talking to everyone in OUR terms and start talking to them on THEIRS. That does not mean changing your beliefs but words that are not connecting to the people being spoken to are ineffective.

CricketSeranade
593
Points
CricketSeranade 03/15/13 - 10:32 am
4
0
Actually Rebellious

It's biscuit, not bisquit. Bisquit is a french brand name for cognac...Anywho, I absolutely hate to hear that word. I especially hate it when young black americans use it toward each other. If this makes the youth stop and realize what an insult this really is, then AWESOME job Ms. Myles! However, if this document was really handed out for students to sign, well that I have a BIG problem with. It's one thing to use it for demonstration purposes on an overhead projector, but to give it to a student and tell them to sign it is going too far. To me that is a personal attack on that student and should not be tolerated. I just wonder who handed out the flyers. Who is this “the discipline team” anyway? Were they the ones who handed out the flyer? If so, then why try to pin this on Ms. Myers? If she was the one to hand out the flyers, then by all means the written repremand is appropriate. Otherwise, just take the flyer in the spirit it was shown, to restore a sense of pride in some youth who can really benefit from it.

ralphinga
1165
Points
ralphinga 03/15/13 - 09:55 am
3
0
R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Self-respect is what this teacher is trying to get across to her students. Catch a clue, using derogatory words to describe ones self, family, friends, or race is self-abuse. Why does the main stream see this as amusing and entertaining?
Why is '[filtered word]' when applied to a female sometimes, in some venues, acceptable?
Perhaps ignorance is bliss or maybe, we must assume that if others don't know or don't care that they are being DISRESPECTED, then we can't either.

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