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High school teacher placed on leave after lesson about N-word

A Spring Branch ISD teacher was removed from the classroom after posting an assignment about the offensive word.

HOUSTON — A teacher at Stratford High School in the Spring Branch Independent School District has been placed on administrative leave after students raised concerns about a controversial lesson Monday in her classroom.

“It was just really shocking at first because it was there on the board," Karina Rodgerson said.

She took a picture of her teacher’s warm-up activity during her English class.

“It was, ‘How is the N-word complicated and how has it changed?’ in 75 words. We had to write about it,” she said.

One of the problems was that the teacher spelled out the offensive word as it was projected onto the wall.

“She didn’t say 'N-word' in the assignment, she wrote out the word on the board," Karina's mother Anita Rodgerson said.

The student said the writing assignment was related to a new book unit the class has coming up.

"Then had a Tupac quote next to it that also had the N-word written onto it," Karina said. “This all started because we were about to start our book unit of 'Their Eyes Were Watching God,' which was written by a Black woman."

Executive Director of Communications for Spring Branch ISD Terry Abbott said the teacher was removed from the classroom and placed on leave, while the district investigates.

“It was shocking, inappropriate, inexcusable, any adjective you want to use," he said. “This was not a lesson plan that was approved in advance by anyone. Had it been, it wouldn’t have been approved."

The principal sent an email out to parents, but Anita Rodgerson said she still has questions.

“I would like to know, did this teacher not follow the system? Is there not a system in place? Is there going to be a system and what improvements can they make to the system?" Anita Rodgerson said.

The district said teachers go through diversity training and this sort of thing should have never happened.

The following is Spring Branch I.S.D.'s full statement:

"April 12, 2021 – A Stratford High School teacher has been placed on administrative leave given concerns with the professional judgment in her lesson planning and delivery during a warm-up activity Monday.

"Inappropriate and offensive language was used, which the Spring Branch Independent School District does not condone and will not accept.

"We continue to investigate this incident and will take appropriate actions. We deeply regret and apologize this incident occurred."