An elementary school employee in upstate New York is under investigation by the school district after she told nine African-American children sitting together at a lunch table that they looked like a gang “in the ‘hood,” RawStory.com reports.
The woman who has not been identified, is employed as support staff at Catskill Elementary. She had apparently taken it upon herself to approach a group of students sitting together and advise they mix with white students so they don’t look like a “Black gang in the hood.”
The fifth-graders had asked to sit together because they happen to be part of the school’s student safety patrol. The monitors are by chance majority Black, parent Celeste Jordan told the Daily Mail.
Jordan said the incident deeply upset her daughter, who was inconsolable and had to be picked up from school. The mother said she has complained to school officials, who assured her that the matter was being handled.
But Jordan wants to know why the employee hasn’t been put on administrative leave, saying the mere sight of her causes her daughter to get upset again. The girl has outbursts over it, has difficulty sleeping and now wonders “whether her white friends will still like her.”
Keeping the employee on campus is aggravating the situation, she told the Daily Mail. The woman is supposed to be separated from the students, but Jordan told the paper that hasn’t necessarily been the case.
Catskill Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Farrell told the paper that the investigation was nearing its conclusion.
“The building administrators have met with all the students and the parents, and the students were also provided with social worker and guidance staff counseling,” she told the paper.
But Jordan said this isn’t enough to address what happened, adding that her child “wouldn’t need counseling if no one was seeing [the employee around campus]. I’m upset and I’m irate.”