Tanisha Agee-Bell said she knew her 13-year-old son Nathan was probably acting up in class.
Still, the mother from Mason, Ohio, told Cincinnati.com that the teacher didn’t have to seemingly threaten her son, who is black, with lynching.
Agee-Bell told WLWT5 that teacher Renee Thole admitted to telling her son in her social studies class that “if you don’t get back on task, your friends are going to form an angry mob and lynch you.” The mother said she had confronted Thole and the teacher confessed to making the statement.
Tracey Carson, a spokesman for Mason schools, said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press that Thole didn’t mean to offend the student — and that sometimes teachers can “mess up.”
And Thole, when confronted by Nathan in class, questioned why the student thought her comment was racist and offensive, Agee-Bell told Cincinnati.com. Carson said that Thole apologized in class and felt “awful” about the comment.
Nathan said he feared his mom would be upset that he questioned his teacher, and didn’t tell her about the comment for around a week, according to Cincinnati.com.
But when he finally told her, Agee-Bell said she went to the superintendent with her complaints.
“For her not to understand that the words that she said were a direct pull from what has been, what was a practice in the United States, is unacceptable,” Agee-Bell told WLWT5. “She shouldn’t be in the classroom. She shouldn’t be in the classroom at all.
“And I’m not saying she should never go back in the classroom, but until she can demonstrate that she understands what the impact of the language that she used and what she did can have, has had on my son, has on his peers and is having on our community, then she doesn’t need to be in the classroom.”
The school district released a statement about the incident that was published by Fox19.
“Growing Greatness Together is our district’s vision. But, we have not arrived. We have work to do.
“Sometimes we mess up. Clearly, that was the case here. And, even though this teacher did not set out to hurt a child – clearly that happened too. It was amazing that this young black man was brave enough to confront his teacher when the incident happened. …
“Our district will continue to invest in training and resources on culturally proficient practices for administrators, educators and classified staff members that lift up our district’s values.”
Thole was removed from Nathan’s social studies class, Cincinnati.com reported.
It’s unknown if the teacher will face any other disciplinary action, local outlets reported.
“For me, that’s enough for her, as a social studies teacher especially, to be removed from the classroom,” Agee-Bell said to Fox19. “I don’t know if she’s racist, but I know that what she said is racist.”