A local branch of the NAACP and some students are upset after a group of Missouri teachers spelled a racial slur during a game of human Scrabble, according to media reports.
The photo, which McClatchy News is not sharing, shows five teachers from the Christian School District in O’Fallon, Missouri, holding up five letters that spell a derogatory term for Black people.
“They were running around trying to spell raccoon, but they didn’t have the R and the A,” Pastor Raymond Horry, a parent in the school district, told KSDK. “I don’t believe it that five Caucasian teachers, not one of them knew that. Maybe one didn’t know it, maybe two didn’t know it, but all five didn’t know it?”
The school district later apologized for the photo, which it said was shared on social media.
An investigation is underway and “appropriate disciplinary action” will occur, the school district said.
“We recognize that this ill-informed action caused hurt and offense to many students and families in our school and in the wider community,” Christian School District said. “We offer no excuse as to why this word was used.”
John Smith, a basketball coach at the school, called what the teachers did “a mistake” — and added the action is not representative of the school, KSDK reported.
The St. Louis County Branch of the NAACP said “there needs to be severe and swift punishment for this racist behavior.”
Students at the school told KTVI they do not condone the actions of their teachers. One student, Destiny Howard, said “they failed us again, according to the TV station.
Another student told KTVI it was “very disappointing.”
“The issues continue on. What... happened Friday is not a sickness, it is a symptom of the sickness that exists within the Christian School District,” John Wissmiller said. “They have perpetuated racism, they empowered racists, and it continues on.”
The school district said it will work to educate its faculty and said the incident shows they need to do more.