Parents upset after white principal says ‘nigger’ on intercom | Local News

A Fort Zumwalt South High School mother has spoken out after learning that the school’s white principal used the word ‘nigger’ during school-wide Tuesday morning announcements

Leah Lee-Burnett posted the incident on Facebook Wednesday morning, and within hours the post had been shared more than 400 times and received more than 100 comments.

Fort Zumwalt South High School principal Kevin Keltner argues it was taken out of context, telling The St. Louis American he used the word in reference to historical information about Carter G. Woodson , who started “Negro History Week” in 1926.

Lee-Burnett, who is black, is the mother of a freshman and senior who attends Fort Zumwalt South High School in St. Peters. She said that in addition to this incident, her freshman son was bullied by his white wrestling teammates who asked if they could call him the N-word.

“No wonder these kids are asking if they can call my son a [N-word]because the school principal uses it [kind of] vernacular as well,” she said.

Lee-Burnett said she spoke with freshman class principal Angie Hahn, but was unhappy with that conversation. She hopes to speak with Keltner, the school board and the superintendent about what she says is an ongoing occurrence of race-related issues.

“I hope the school district will be held accountable for these types of racist antics because, again, it didn’t start this year, my first experience was two years ago,” she said. “So I can only imagine how many times this has happened since then and or before. So I would like the school and the school district to be held accountable. I would like a public apology to all students.

Fort Zumwalt South High School has just under 1,400 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Of these, approximately 89 are black and 1,086 are white.

“We are aware of some rumors among a few people regarding yesterday morning’s announcements at Fort Zumwalt South High School, and what you have described is in no way what was announced yesterday morning as part of our daily announcements “, wrote Keltner in an email to The St. Louis American.

Keltner wrote that in honor of Black History Month, the school highlights a person each school day who has had a significant historical impact. He sent the biographical paragraph which he said was read during the announcement on Tuesday:

“Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875. Neither parent could read or write. Mr Woodson had to work to earn money for the family and did not start school until later than most children. His motto was “it’s never too late to learn”. He became a high school teacher; and was sad to find that none of the schools taught black American history. He founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. On February 19, 1926, he instituted the “Negro History Week”. Woodson chose this date to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln; two men who had strongly marked the black population. Over time, “Black History Week” evolved into the “Black History Month” we know today; a four-week celebration of African-American history.

After learning Keltner’s response to the accusations, Lee-Burnett said she still didn’t believe it justified her use of the word and thought it was absurd that she had to debate its use in 2022. She also said the students contradicted his account of what was said.

Keltner didn’t immediately respond if he thought it was appropriate for him to use the word in any context.

“I hope this isn’t just swept under the rug – this is another example of how black lives don’t matter,” she said.

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