White teacher tries to make point about racism, put on administrative leave as a result
Heritage High School (Newport News, Virginia) teacher Lynne Pierce was attempting to make a point about racist terms and names in her AP History class, and as a result was put on administrative leave.
She had used the Washington Redskins as an example, saying the NFL team’s name “mocks Native Americans.”
When a student “asked her to expand more on the topic,” Pierce allegedly compared the name to a hypothetical local team called the “Newport News N******.”
“Honestly, in every day life as an African American, there are people that use this word to greet one another, but as soon as someone uses it in terms of expressing themselves, people get offended,” [Heritage HS alum Juslena] Williams added.
The school system would not comment on the investigation, but released a statement saying: “Newport News Public Schools is dedicated to ensuring that our students are educated in a professional, safe and nurturing environment. When a school administrator receives a complaint or concern from a student or family member about possible inappropriate employee behavior, an investigation is launched as all such concerns are taken very seriously.”
Pierce argues that her comments were taken out of context; she was merely trying to make students understand how inappropriate the term would be.