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Former Harrisonville teacher suing the school district after being fired for allegedly using a racial slur

John Magoffin Harrisonville School Teacher
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 18:55:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Harrisonville school teacher is suing the school district in federal court after he was fired last year for allegedly using a racial slur in a classroom.

John Magoffin, who taught Advanced Placement Biology at Harrisonville High School, claims in his suit that the district is guilty of discrimination, retaliation and other violations.

The school board voted 4-3 to fire Magoffin on June 30, 2021.

A student claimed Magoffin used the slur during a classroom discussion.

"How does a biology teacher respond to difficult questions regarding race? The District has provided scant training on the dilemma," the lawsuit states. "Plaintiff claims students are mistaken in claiming he used the entire word because he is repulsed by it. His testimony in his termination hearing was believable to 3 out of 7 board members."

Magoffin was suspended on April 20, 2021, which the lawsuit claims caused Magoffin "to be discriminated against and suffered harassment caused by the District's unlawful policies under Title VII and the Missouri Human Rights Act based on his race, color, sex, religion and retaliated against when he complained about his concerns, in writing, with his administration after they suspended him from active duty on April 20, 2021, for both pretextual reasons and in violation of his constitutional rights."

The district also held an 11-hour public hearing on the racial slur accusation that began the night of June 15, 2021, and stretched into early the next morning.

KSHB 41 reached out to the Harrisonville School District for comment on the lawsuit.

Any comment from the district will be added to the story.

Magoffin also is suing the district in Cass County Court.

A hearing is set for August 1 in that case.