A Lawrence teacher was suspended amid complaints he made racist comments in class

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A teacher at South Middle School has been suspended with pay following allegations the teacher said racial comments during a class recently.

On Wednesday, Lawrence Public Schools released a statement saying a family member of a student notified the school this week of the incident.

School leaders did not release the name of the teacher or the nature and context of the racial comments.

Many parents who spoke with 41 Action News said they had not heard about the incident before showing up for parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday evening.

"It's shocking and I hope they have an answer for me when I walk in there right now as to what was said," said Jackie Villamar, the mother of a student at the school.

Many parents were surprised the incident happened at South Middle School, considering the amount of minority students there.

According to statistics from the Kansas Department of Education, minority students make up over 40% of the student population at the middle school.

"South Middle School is a great school. My kid loves it here. It's diverse," explained Joe Bointy, who came to the school for parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday. "You've got great representation from various ethnicities and racial groups."

As of Wednesday night, the teacher was suspended with pay.

It is unknown when the teacher will return to school.

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Tom Dempsey can be reached at Tom.Dempsey@KSHB.com.

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