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Missouri student suspended after reporting teacher used racial slur

Posted at 8:51 AM, May 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-16 17:05:03-04

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A sophomore at a Missouri high school who recorded a teacher using a racial slur during class was suspended for three days.

Mary Walton, a student at Glendale High School in Springfield, said she was told Friday that she would not be allowed to return to school until Wednesday because she violated district policy on inappropriate use of electronic devices, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

The teacher, whose name has not been released, was put on paid administrative leave after using the racial slur on Tuesday.

On Saturday, attorney Natalie Hull said she plans to issue a “demand letter” in an effort to get the suspension lifted so Walton can return to class as soon as Monday. The family is also seeking an apology, Hull said.

Walton said the teacher used the racial slur six times — two of which were recorded on her video. Walton wasn't sure what prompted the exchange but she said the teacher asked some of her classmates why they were allowed to use the slur but he wasn't.

She said the teacher told her to put her phone away when he realized Walton was recording him. When she refused, he told her to go to the office but stopped short of sending her.

Walton sent the video to her mom and shared it with one friend. Walton said she didn't upload it, but it spread “really, really fast.”

Glendale principal Josh Groves said in a message to school employees and families that the comments expressed in the video were inappropriate and did not meet the Springfield district's professional standards.

District officials said they couldn't comment on student disciplinary actions.

Walton said she understands that the district does not want students taking “vigilante” recordings of any slight infraction by teachers but she said this teacher's actions needed to be brought to light.

“What you are tacitly doing is discouraging students from reporting whenever a teacher does something outrageous,” she said.