A white Mason Middle School teacher who told an African-American student his classmates would “lynch” him if he didn’t do his school work has been placed on administrative leave.
Mason Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline sent a message to “Mason City Schools Families” on Saturday with the subject line “Mason Schools Response to Teacher’s Comment” after the story about the teacher gained national attention.
“Racism is real in America, and we all have an obligation to fight it,” Kist-Kline wrote.
According to documents studied by this news organization, the teacher, Renee Thole, was reprimanded Thursday, ordered into cultural sensitivity training and may be fired if it happens again.
In an ABC-TV story cited by this organization’s news partner WCPO-TV, the boy’s mother, Tanisha Agee-Bell, said earlier this week that she wants additional action taken against the teacher.
“I want her removed from the classroom until she can get the proper training,” said Agee-Bell.
Kist-Kline’s message addressed such feelings:
“The teacher is currently on administrative leave while we continue to look into all that has been reported,” she wrote. “We’ve also formally reprimanded the teacher and placed a disciplinary report into her personnel file. This is the first and only time the teacher has been disciplined in more than 22 years with our district.
“Some have called for this teacher to be immediately fired and banned from ever teaching again. We understand and respect the passion of these viewpoints. The teacher has been disciplined. She is required to take further training to learn from this troubling mistake. And our school district will do more to help educators make their classrooms more inclusive and equitable by providing training on how to combat bigotry and bias.”