O’ FALLON, Mo. — Teachers at a Missouri private school are being criticized for holding up a Scrabble message that contained a racial slur.
The slur was allegedly posted on social media over the weekend, KTVI reported.
The photo shows five teachers from the Christian School District in O’Fallon holding up five letters that spell a derogatory term for Black people, according to The Kansas City Star.
“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.
“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 in a statement. “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.
“This isn’t our school this was a mistake,” Smith told the television station. “Everybody in the world makes mistakes, everybody in the world has faults and this is just a little fault that we’ve had. This is not our school. I truly believe that they did not know what they were posting.”
Some parents and students are not so sure.
“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 told KTVI. “They have perpetuated racism, they empowered racists, and it continues on.”
“Like everything else that we’re seeing in America, there are no consequences for people’s actions,” Horry, who is a member of the NAACP, told the television station. “This has come to be demoralizing and then we get these students in the school and there is no representation of them, no one in the yearbook of authority that look like my children.”
“I feel like we are going through a similar cycle that we had at the beginning of the year,” Destiny Harding, a student at the school, told KTVI. “We had an email sent out to us when we had a situation in the beginning of the year and then we just got another email talking about how they failed us again.”