A Harrisonville teacher allegedly used a racist slur during a class, concerned parents said.
A high school student reported to administration that a teacher used the n-word, according to a public social media post made by Jennifer Beavers, who is the parent of a student and a district employee.
“I implore parents of Harrisonville students and in our community to demand that action be taken and taken, swiftly,” she posted, adding that the incident took place a few weeks ago. “That we will not tolerate having a teacher use language that is that of a racist.”
The post said John Magoffin, listed in the school directory as a science teacher, had “made a hostile environment out of a classroom.” The Facebook post indicated he was not currently teaching after the alleged incident.
In a statement Wednesday night, an attorney for Magoffin said allegations that the teacher “made a racially discriminatory comment directed at anyone” are untrue. Attorney Jean Lamfers said Magoffin denies using the six-letter slur.
“Any allegations that he made a racially discriminatory comment directed at anyone is patently false and potentially defamatory. It is up to the school district to investigate claims of discrimination, including comments on social media that concern its personnel,” the statement continued.
The statement added that Magoffin “has been willing to answer student concerns about sensitive cultural and societal issues that affect them, while posing open ended questions to students that encourage them to do further research for themselves.”
In an email sent to parents Tuesday, Harrisonville High School principal Mark Wiegers said officials had received several questions about a “personnel issue.”
“We take all reports of misconduct or wrongdoing seriously and our first steps are always to ensure the safety and well-being of our students,” he wrote in the email.
The email said when the school receives complaints, it will investigate but is “limited on the information we can provide during or at the conclusion of an investigation.”
Beavers could not be immediately reached.
Harrisonville School District spokeswoman Jill Filer said a high school staff member was placed on administrative leave April 20 “due to an alleged violation of board policy,” and will remain on leave until the investigation is complete. When asked about the alleged incident, she referred The Star to the email sent to parents.
Emails to each of the seven school board members requesting a comment have not not been returned.
Christie Mangan, whose daughter goes to the high school, said she believes the teacher should be fired.
“Our community is becoming more and more beautifully diverse, and it makes me sad to think that we have kids going to school here who don’t feel safe in general, but especially in a classroom with a teacher who feels comfortable to say that type of thing,” she said.
Mangan said she understood that the district couldn’t comment on the investigation, but questioned why officials have not made an effort to denounce racism and discrimination.
Olathe coach fired for racial slur
Concerned parents in Harrisonville pointed to recent actions taken by the Olathe school board.
Last Thursday, Olathe North High School baseball coach Pete Flood allegedly said the n-word.
Tony Banks said his son, a senior and the only Black player on the team was playing rap music through speakers during batting practice.
Banks said Flood walked up to his son and told him, “We don’t play that N----- music over here. We only play country and rock music.”
Flood was placed on administrative leave on Friday and fired on Monday.
He admitted he used the slur, but claimed it was not directed toward a student.