OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The subject of teachers receiving racial sensitivity training is front and center this week in an East Bay school district. A parent is voicing outrage at how, she claims, a teacher handled her Black daughter being called a “monkey” by a white classmate.
According to a complaint, the incident happened after a student brought a toy monkey to class back on Feb. 21, 2023, at Hillcrest Elementary School in the Oakland Unified School District, where Qualynda Scott’s nine-year-old daughter attends third grade.
Not feeling satisfied with the teacher’s response, Scott went to Hillcrest and told the teacher that calling an African American a monkey is a well-documented racist trope. Scott claims the teacher told her that she had no idea it was an insult to Black people.
According to OUSD’s non-discrimination statement on the Hillcrest Elementary School website it states:
“OUSD prohibits unlawful discrimination such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation or bullying against any student…Based upon a person’s actual or perceived characteristics of race or ethnicity.”
The president of the Oakland Teachers’ Association says that racial sensitivity training is available for teachers over the summer at OUSD, but only on a voluntary basis.
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Oakland NAACP President Cynthia Adams says she finds it hard to believe that the OUSD educator didn’t know the racial implications of calling a Black person a “monkey”.
Scott filed an OUSD Level 1 complaint about the incident. It reads that the district will reply within 45 days. She says it has been 50 days and counting.
“I have not heard anything back from OUSD,” Scott said.
KRON4 reached out to the school district regarding this specific incident. Officials at OUSD say because of the sensitive nature in relation to students, they cannot comment. Regarding the subject of racial sensitivity training, OUSD’s statement reads in part:
“Any additional training for staff that is deemed necessary in these situations will be quickly implemented so staff have the support they need to tackle these issues head on and to protect our students from harm.”