Florida teacher accused of using racial slurs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) – - A Jacksonville middle school teacher is in hot water after making a series of racist and inflammatory comments in class, according to CNN.

David Swinyar, a math teacher at Kernan Middle School was suspended for 10 days without pay and will no longer have contact with students for the rest of the year, the school district said.

In October 2017, the school was made aware of a racist remark the teacher allegedly made when a student’s mother complained about his behavior, according to the school district’s investigative report.

“If your boyfriend says bad things to you and/or treats you wrong, that means he’s acting like a n—–,” Swinyar said according to a student’s testimony. “You all should not be dating all these different African-American boys because they are not worth it.”

In a separate incident, Swinyar allegedly used the n-word during an argument with a student.

“If my daughter was dating someone who used the ‘f’ word, I wouldn’t have any respect for that n—–,” Swinyar reportedly said in one of his classes.

Another student told a school counselor Swinyar said, “If [his daughter] was dating someone and that ‘n’ said the ‘f’ word, I would beat him up.”

When someone questioned him about his use of the slur, Swinyar denied using the word and said, “I would never say that, but if I did, I am sorry,” according to the report.

After the incident, a student left the classroom to report the teacher’s “aggressive tone and demeanor” to his mother, but Swinyar chased the student and,“began ‘yelling’ at him … [and] also snatched the phone out of his hand,” the report said.

According to the Washington Post, a total of 24 students and several staff members gave statements about the teacher’s behavior to school officials and investigators.

“When Mr. Swinyar gets mad, he becomes aggressive,” one female student testified. “Additionally, Mr. Swinyar belittles students by talking down to them about their low [Florida Standards Assessments] scores. He loves to talk about politics and Donald Trump. He also talked about attending a black church. Mr. Swinyar often ‘mocks’ black preachers.”

The report also claims Swinyar made inappropriate comments to students and called some of them dumb, but one student said overall she thought he was a “good teacher.”

Swinyar had no past disciplinary actions on his record, the report claims.

When reached for comment, both Swinyar and Florida’s teacher union, the Florida Education Association, declined to talk about the situation.

“One of the FEA’s core values is to ‘value and respect the diversity among all individuals,'” said FEA communications director Sharon Nesvig, when asked for the organization’s general policy on racist language in the classroom. “So, clearly FEA is opposed to using racial slurs and derogatory language inside or outside the classroom.”

“Following the employee’s suspension without pay, he will be reassigned to an appropriate district position with no contact with students for the remainder of the year,” said Duval County Schools Superintendent Patricia Willis. “As an annual contract employee, Mr. Swinyar’s employment contract with the district expires June 30, 2018. In May, recommendations for contract renewals for all annual employees will be considered.”



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