Seminole Co. teacher misspells word, creates racial slur

WESH - SANFORD, Fla. (WESH) -"That bothered me. I was very offended by it," Terry Day told WESH 2 Investigates. "In today's society, it's very prevalent. Racism! It's very prevalent."

Day's 6-year-old daughter, Rosa, is a first grader at Hamilton Elementary School in Sanford. On Monday, her teacher sent home a spelling list with the class that contained a racial slur.

The word was supposed to read, "Bigger." But the word on the spelling list for Rosa's class, began with the letter "N," not the letter "B."

Day's daughter didn't know what to think.

"My daughter said to me, she said, 'I know that word and I know what that word means, but is this supposed to be on my paper?'" Day said.

Day went to the school in Sanford to speak with the teacher.

"I said, 'Well, you didn't spell-check your word? You didn't proofread your word before you sent that out?' And (the teacher) said, 'It is a word.' And I didn't like the attitude behind that one,'" Day said.

Here's how the teacher explained the mistake to school administrators: She pointed to the keyboard on her computer and said the "B" and the "N" are right next to each other, and she accidentally typed the "N" instead of the "B."

While declining an on-camera interview, a school spokesman, Michael Lawrence, released a statement to WESH 2 Investigates that reads, "The district is aware of the unintentional and unfortunate mistake regarding the typo on the spelling words worksheet. The teacher involved has taught at Hamilton Elementary for many years and is extremely remorseful about the situation. The school has already fixed and updated the spelling words list and redistributed to the students in that particular class. In addition, a memo has gone home with students sincerely apologizing for the error."

But that's not how the memo, sent by the teacher, reads.

She wrote, "Dear Parents: Please be advised there was a misspelled word on the blue spelling list I sent home yesterday. Please throw the blue list away and refer to this list for the next six weeks. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please contact me if you have any concerns."

There is no mention of the misspelled word creating a racial slur, which infuriates Day.

"'Inconvenience' means sorry for the bother. So, I mean, it was not apologetic, it was not 'sorry.' Even when I met with her in person, she wasn't sorry, wasn't apologetic, like, 'Oh my God, I'm so sorry. I would have removed this.' No! It wasn't like that," Day said.

Day said the teacher, who has been employed by Seminole County Schools for more than 16 years, should not be punished. She said her daughter likes the teacher and Day believes this was a mistake. But she thinks every one of the students in that first-grade class at Hamilton Elementary, and their parents, deserve an apology.

The president of the school's PTA has a child in the same class that contained the misspelled word with a racial slur, but she declined to speak with WESH 2 Investigates.

The school district said the teacher has no discipline history, and likely will not be punished in this case.


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