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August 23, 2019

Teacher who told 11-year-old biracial girl she was lucky she wasn’t picking cotton no longer employed at Oregon school

June 13, 2019
A teacher is no longer working at Oregon’s Linwood Elementary School after criticizing a biracial girl. (MartineDoucet/Getty Images)

An Oregon school teacher is out of a job after making disparaging comments to a biracial, 11-year-old girl.

Jasmyn Spencer was eating lunch May 31 with her friends at Linwood Elementary School in Milwaukie, Ore., when the employee chided the kids for misbehaving.

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

Jasmyn’s mom, Syreeta Spencer, learned of the harangue when her daughter returned home from school that day. She immediately went to the school to meet with the principal.

“If she were to curse at the kids or yell at them, that’s forgivable and we can work past that,” said Spencer. “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.”

The school board issued a statement on Tuesday, reported TV station KGW8.

“We know and understand that the impact of words spoken can be hurtful for our students and that was the case in this situation,” read part of the letter. “I deeply regret this impact and will continue to work with our students and school community to make sure they are heard and feel supported. Our school and the school district are committed to an inclusive environment that honors each student’s identity and provides safety, respect and care in each of our spaces.

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