CHICAGO (WGN) — Some are hoping a longtime history teacher at an Illinois high school who was recently fired for using the N-word in class will get a second chance.
During a history lesson on Jan. 28 at the all-girls Mother McAuley High School, a Catholic school in Mount Greenwood, teacher Mary DeVoto said the N-word twice while trying to explain to her sophomore class that the Washington Football Team’s former name is offensive to indigenous people.
“I was really just trying to tell the children is to say the R-word is just as abhorrent as to say the N-word to African Americans,” said DeVoto, who has taught for 41 years.
DeVoto said she knew instantly that what she said was not OK.
“I don’t know how it came out of my mouth,” she said.
Even so, she continued on with the lesson.
DeVoto’s explanation, captured by a student who frequently records lectures to listen back for studying, was shared with other students and on social media.
DeVoto was suspended Jan. 28 and then terminated on Monday. Since then, her daughters have started a petition to get her reinstated. As of Friday, it had more than 3,000 signatures.
“To me, it doesn’t reflect what I’ve done for 41 years, and I would want the administration to work with me and help me bridge this problem with my students,” she said.
Right now, the school is standing behind its decision, stating:
“As an educational institution, we recognize mistakes happen to each one of us, and we make every effort, regardless of the popularity of such decisions, to embrace the opportunity to learn from such teachable moments. To embrace mistakes means we must learn not to repeat such behaviors, to demonstrate clear remorse and to be able to rebuild trust that has been lost.”
Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School
Some parents, however, have shared on social media that they feel the termination should stand.
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