The mother of a young black child at an Ohio middle school is upset after a white teacher told her son that he might be lynched if he didn’t get back to work.
According to WLWT5, Tanisha Agee-Bell says the teacher at Mason Middle School, Renee Thole, admitted to telling her 13-year-old son “If you don’t get back on task, your friends are going to form an angry mob and lynch you.”
Agg-Bell said she initially didn’t believe her son and thought maybe he took the comment about lynching out of context.
“I was just taken aback because I said, ‘What you said is actually worse than what he said you said,'” Agee-Bell tells WXIX. “He had told her, ‘That’s racist.” She then went immediately to the superintendent.
“For her not to understand that the words that she said were a direct pull from what has been, what was a practice in the United States, is unacceptable,” Agee-Bell added. “She shouldn’t be in the classroom. She shouldn’t be in the classroom at all. And I’m not saying she should never go back in the classroom, but until she can demonstrate that she understands what the impact of the language that she used and what she did can have, has had on my son, has on his peers and is having on our community, then she doesn’t need to be in the classroom.”
Mason City Schools did not remove the teacher, nor has said if she will be disciplined. In a statement, the district said:
“Growing Greatness Together is our district’s vision. But, we have not arrived. We have work to do.
“Sometimes we mess up. Clearly, that was the case here. And, even though this teacher did not set out to hurt a child – clearly that happened too. It was amazing that this young black man was brave enough to confront his teacher when the incident happened.
“We have seen an uptick in the number of racially and culturally insensitive comments in our schools and community. Sometimes these are said out of genuine ignorance. For example, some students contend that they are not being offensive if they say n***a vs. the n-word. As a district, we want to be very clear. We are not OK normalizing racial slurs. Anyone who does so faces disciplinary action.
“Our district will continue to invest in training and resources on culturally proficient practices for administrators, educators and classified staff members that lift up our district’s values.”