Lawsuit: LAUSD Teacher Used The N-Word And Said Blacks Aren't Very Smart

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Classroom (Photo by hxdbzxy via Shutterstock)

A mixed-race student says that her teacher dropped the n-word in class, said blacks aren't very smart and called Michael Brown a "thug" who "got what he deserved" when he was shot by police in Ferguson, according to a lawsuit filed against LAUSD.

The suit alleging civil rights violations was filed by a parent identified as Shawn B. His daughter Maggie B. began attending Paul Revere Charter Middle School and Magnet Center in Brentwood in 2013 as a seventh-grade student, according to City News Service. She is half-white and half-black, and initially was pleased to be going to such a diverse school. But the suit claims that LAUSD failed in its duty to provide accommodations "free from prohibited discrimination."

The complaint says the girl was assigned to an eighth-grade history class taught by Steven Carnine. The trouble began after Martin Luther King's birthday on January 16 when Carnine handed out a questionnaire asking about racial stereotypes. The suit claims that during the discussion, Carnine brought up the shooting of Michael Brown, saying, "In discussing the incident, Carnine said that the guy was a thug and he got what he deserved." The suit also claims the teacher said, "Black people are judged for not being smart because they are not smart. A lot of them are just athletes." Carnine allegedly said if he were walking alone at night and he found two black men were behind him, he was "immediately going to be scared and think they are either going to steal from me or hurt me." The teacher is also accused of making anti-semitic remarks like, "We all know Jews like to hoard their money."

The suit says Carnine looked directly at Maggie and the one other black student in the class while making these statements. Maggie says she became "intensely uncomfortable and uneasy by these comments."

The girl's father Shawn said he complained to the school principal who brushed it off by saying Carnine was "old school" and said the best way to solve the issue was by meeting with him. But that same day Carnine gave a lecture on the Civil War and allegedly said, "people didn't like Lincoln because he was a (N-word) lover" all while "staring and smirking" at Maggie as he said that.

Shawn returned to school with Maggie's mother and godmother to meet with assistant principal Thomas Iannucci. He said he would investigate the complaints, but the family felt he was dismissive and seemed to be concerned about them going to the press. The family says Ianucci hasn't told them how the investigation into the remarks went. In the meantime, Maggie has been anxious and suffered from sleep problems. The complaint says Maggie has since received glares and hostile stares from both Carnine and Ianucci, and she no longer feels safe at school.

UPDATE 3/23: A petition has sprung up in Carnine's defense saying that his comments were taken out of context and that he brought up harmful stereotypes as a way to teach his students that they were wrong. One student identified on the petition as Katie T. says that she was in the same class as Maggie B. and she describes what she heard in class:

As for the stereotyping... Mr. Carnine said that stereotypes were wrong, but sadly they are still in our world today. He was discussing these stereotypes with us in order to help us understand history and how different races were treated and sometimes still are. He said that SOME PEOPLE think that black people are not smart and only good at sports, and that Jewish people are known for being very wealthy. He taught us that these stereotypes are wrong and should not be used, but there are still many people in America who believe these stereotypes.

About the N-lover rumor...
Mr. Carnine discussed how many people didn't not like Lincoln, because they claimed he was an n-lover. He did not even use the word; he spelt it out and said "excuse my language, I really do not like using this word, but this is how harshly the African American people were treated". Mr. Carnine also said he was completely against the word, but he was trying to teach us about the harshness of slavery before the civil war. It was important to learn about how harsh it really was in order to understand this history better. He did not want to "sugar coat" it to us, like many other teachers tend to do.

Finally, about the Ferguson discussion...
Mr. Carnine said that the man was a "t—g", but he absolutely did NOT deserve to be harassed like he was. He also mentioned that it was not fair to have an all-white police squad on the job, because there was bound to be racism, even though the amount of racist people has noticeably decreased and our society has overall evened out.