A Florida middle school teacher has been suspended after students said he used racial slurs while speaking to students, called students “dumb” and made other offensive comments.
“You all should not be dating these different African American boys because they are not worth it,” David Swinyar, a teacher at Kernan Middle School in Jacksonville, Fla., said to students in October, according to a Duval County Public Schools investigation. A report on the investigation was obtained by Action News Jax.
Of the middle school’s nearly 1,300 students, 22 percent are African-American, according to school-provided demographic data.
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“There’s no call for that in the classroom or around kids period,” Torris Smalls, a parent, told Action News Jax.
Swinyar also allegedly grabbed a phone away from a student as the student tried calling his mother to report Swinyar’s actions, the Jacksonville Times-Union reports.
While many students said they witnessed Swinyar say “n----r” in class, according to the newspaper, some told district investigators that Swinyar said he was sorry for saying it — or that he denied saying the word altogether.
There was also an earlier incident in August, the Huffington Post reports.
“If my daughter was dating someone who used the ‘f’ word, I wouldn’t have any respect for that n----r,” Swinyar said, according to the district report obtained by the Huffington Post.
Shortly after that, Swinyar allegedly used the racial slur again.
“If your boyfriend says bad things to you and/or treats you wrong, that means that he’s acting like a n----r,” he said, according to the report obtained by the Huffington Post.
Swinyar’s union attorney, Stephanie Schaap, told the Times-Union that he denies the allegations against him. He’s also appealing the school board’s suspension.
Students also commented on Swinyar’s penchant for politics, the Huffington Post reports: “He loves to talk about politics and Donald Trump,” one student told the district investigators. That student also said that Swinyar was overall a “good teacher,” but that he needs to work on his anger.
School district leaders sent a letter to board members detailing what will happen with Swinyar after his suspension ends, CNN reports.
“Following the employee’s suspension without pay, he will be reassigned to an appropriate district position with no contact with students for the remainder of the year,” Duval County Schools Superintendent Patricia Willis said in the letter, CNN reports. “As an annual contract employee, Mr. Swinyar’s employment contract with the district expires June 30, 2018. In May, recommendations for contract renewals for all annual employees will be considered.”