Teacher tells student: 'You’re lucky I’m not making you pick cotton'

An Oregon teacher resigned after making a racist comment to an 11-year-old biracial student, KGW reports. 

Jasmyn Spencer told the station last week that a teacher at Linwood Elementary School in Milwaukie scolded her and her friends — most of whom were minorities — for misbehaving in the cafeteria while they were having lunch on May 31. 

"The teacher was like, you’re lucky I’m not making you pick cotton and clean my house and stuff like that," she said. "It made me feel really sad and targeted."

Upon learning of the incident, Jasmyn's mother Syreeta said she went to the school to discuss the inappropriate remark with the school's acting principal Rosina Hardy. 

"If [the teacher] were to curse at the kids or yell at them, that’s forgivable and we can work past that," Syreeta told KGW. "To say something about picking cotton and cleaning and painting houses, that’s deeper than that and it’s not something that just slips out."

At the time, Jonathan Hutchison, a spokesperson with the North Clackamas School District, confirmed the incident in a statement to the station. 

"This prompted an ongoing personnel investigation involving the school and NCSD's Human Resources Department," he said. "For that reason, no other information can be shared at this time."

The school also sent a letter to parents, notifying them that the teacher was placed on leave. 

"We know that the impact has been hurtful and emotional for our students," the letter read. "We deeply regret this impact and will continue to work with our students to make sure that they are heard and feel supported."

This week, however, Hardy said in a follow-up note that the teacher decided to leave her post. 

"We have concluded our investigation about the inappropriate racialized comments by a staff member to students," the letter said. "The employee involved is no longer employed within the North Clackamas School District."

The teacher also released a statement apologizing for her words. 

"This letter is to let you know how deeply sorry I am for the hurtful and unnecessary statement I made last week," the staff member wrote. "There simply isn't an excuse for my language, and I acknowledge what I said was hurtful and offensive. I have disappointed myself, and I know I have disappointed you by failing to create a school atmosphere that embraces all students regardless of their race or other demographics."

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