Fontana Unified School District officials are investigating an incident captured on video of a teacher at Sequoia Middle School repeatedly using a racial slur in an exchange with a student.
District officials have not released the name of the teacher nor whether she has been disciplined.
It is unclear when the incident occurred, but the video, which was shot by a student in the classroom, was being circulated on social media this week.
Sequoia families and staff received a letter from the district Wednesday, April 5, explaining that the exchange occurred during a lesson related to a Mark Twain novel and condemning the use of the language “outside of the context of discussing the novel.”
Superintendent Miki Inbody echoed the statement in a message on the district’s website.
“While the use of the word was in connection to its use in a historical literary work,” Inbody wrote, “there was a lack of understanding regarding the emotional impact of using this word could have on our students.”
She continued: “We understand that such incidents can be hurtful and upsetting, especially for students who come from diverse backgrounds.”
The district does not tolerate “any form of discrimination or prejudice in our school,” Inbody added, and officials are “taking steps to address this issue and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.”
Fontana Unified will continue providing training and support to administrators, teachers and staff to ensure they create an inclusive and respectful learning environment, Inbody added. “We will also work with our students to provide opportunities for open and honest dialogue about the impact of language and behavior on others.”
A Community Round Table in partnership with the city of Fontana and other community partners is being planned.
Details will be shared via ParentSquare and the district website.