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Reply to "Teacher suspended for ten days, after calling student Nigga!"

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Controversial Teacher Reassigned

(LOUISVILLE, Feb. 6th, 2006) A Louisville high school drama teacher was escorted out of school Monday as Jefferson County Public School officials investigate whether or not he should lose his job. In December Paul Dawson called a student the "N-word" after the student used the word with him. Dawson was suspended for 10 days in January from Valley Traditional High...

On Monday, Dawson hoped students would join him in taking a stand with a walkout...
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Dawson said in a written statement that the student first used the word toward him and [said] "[I] responded with the same disrespectful term that he hurled my way. I said: 'Well then, niggah, you get away from my window.' "

...The student, whose name was not released, denied to school officials that he used the term first. He alleged that Dawson said it while trying to get him to sit down. District investigators interviewed several witnesses, who did not confirm Dawson's allegation about the student, who wasn't disciplined.

Officials said the teacher's use of the word in any circumstance was a serious offense.

"It's insensitive, inappropriate language, and it's conduct unbecoming a teacher," district spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said.

...Several Valley High students said yesterday that the word often is used among black students, and sometimes whites, as a term of affection. But they were surprised that a teacher had said it.

"I thought it was very offensive," said Shareka Morrow, 17, who heard about the incident secondhand. "If you're white, you don't say it."

Ray Underwood, 18, another black student, said Dawson is a good teacher who "likes rappin' " and using urban slang and most likely did not "try to hurt feelings."

Ricky Jones, chairman of the Department of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville, said some African Americans view the word "nigger" as a derogatory term and "niggah" as a term of affection.

But the latter can be offensive to some, and there's heated debate about whether the prevalence of the term in any form is acceptable, he said. Some argue its use by blacks helps negate the word's derogatory power.

But few condone its use by white people, Jones said -- especially by adults who should fully understand the word's historical context.

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AI...02030403/1008/NEWS01
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