'Racially charged' vagary may cost American teacher a lot

AFP Photo / Stan Honda
An American middle-school teacher has been suspended for ten days without pay after claims he wrote a racially charged interpretation of Barack Obama's presidential campaign motto, a local paper reports.

Officials in Jackson County, Missouri, are now gathering evidence before considering Greg Howard's fate. Some activists are insisting Howard be permanently expelled.

Larry Moore, deputy superintendent for the Jackson County School District, said school officials say Howard wrote an acronym with an explanation on a class board at Marianna Middle School.

It read, “C.H.A.N.G.E. – Come Help A (N-word) Get Elected.”

Howard was suspended on Monday. The reprimand was elevated to a 10-day suspension without pay starting Thursday. Howard was also told to write a letter of apology to students.

Some parents are indignant that the teacher used the “N-word” in classroom.

“To me, it's hurtful,” said Audrey Wad, a Marianna resident with nieces and nephews at the school. “The idea that he would impose his political opinion on the children is wrong to me. That's where he crossed the line.”

Meanwhile, area director Elmore Bryant, who has taught in Jackson County for more than 40 years, said Howard's action was “totally inappropriate, out of place, out of character and bad timing.”