breaking news

UD police successfully push rowdy students back indoors after revelers threw bottles, rocks at them

District under fire for racist youth league jerseys, teacher's lynching comment

UPDATED 2 p.m.:

The leader of Mason Schools cites an “uptick” of racist remarks in schools and the community and warns they will not be tolerated.

>> Read more trending news

Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline sent an email message Thursday to school parents in Warren County’s largest school system in the aftermath of a district teacher using an insensitive and historically deadly racial reference with an African-American student.

“We have seen an uptick in the number of racially and culturally insensitive comments in our schools and community,” wrote Kist-Kline.

And days later, Mason Schools officials are apologizing for a white teacher’s “lynch” remark to an African-America middle school student and promising changes.

“We’re going to work hard on this,” said Kings spokeswoman Dawn Gould, referring to the multiple efforts by district officials in the 4,300-student district to address concerns of the community regarding an incident involving racist youth-league jerseys.

On Friday, Kings officials were planning to address students from Kings High School about the racist jerseys as part of regularly scheduled group meetings.

Both districts are largely within the Deerfield Township borders and are among the most affluent communities in Greater Cincinnati’s northern suburbs.

Kings’ enrollment is 2.3 percent African-American, while black students comprise 4 percent of Mason’s 10,400 students.

Both districts are regularly cited by national publications as being among the academically highest-quality performers among Ohio’s 608 public school systems.

“Kings is a high-performing district with great students. Like many other schools around the country, this recent issue is an area we need to work on,” Gould said.

Mason Schools officials said the December classroom incident at Mason Middle School was a clear violation of proper behavior by one of their teachers. The district has acknowledged that a teacher made a mistake after a black student reported that he was told he might be lynched if he didn’t get back to work, according to the Associated Press.

Tanisha Agee-Bell said a white teacher at Mason Middle School made the comment to her 13-year-old son during class in December.

“Sometimes we mess up. Clearly that was the case here,” said Mason Schools spokeswoman Tracey Carson. “And even though this teacher did not set out to hurt a child – clearly that happened too.”

The teacher -- Renee Thole – faces district disciplinary action, but district officials would not comment further on what job actions she may face.

“Our district will continue to invest in training and resources on culturally proficient practices for administrators, educators and classified (non-teaching) staff members that lift up our district’s values,” said Carson.

On Tuesday, Kings school board member Kerry McKiernan announced his intention to retire during an emotional exchange at a board meeting, saying he needed to do so to be accountable for his son’s role in the basketball team’s wearing of the racist jerseys.

McKiernan did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Kings officials said as of Thursday he had yet to submit a written resignation letter to the board, which next meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Kings Education Center.

WCPO-TV and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation & World

Cold snap expected to contribute to spike in manatee deaths
Cold snap expected to contribute to spike in manatee deaths

Florida is on pace to set an annual record for manatee deaths, according to officials with a nonprofit government watchdog group. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility officials said the first two months of 2018 have been especially deadly for Florida manatees. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife statistics, through March 9, there have...
Escaped horses stop traffic on busy Atlanta highway
Escaped horses stop traffic on busy Atlanta highway

A prominent highway in DeKalb County had a different type of traffic problem Saturday morning. Horses were seen running along U.S. 78 East, with Triple Team Traffic tweeting that the highway was shut down past Montreal Road due to the incident. Police were on the scene about 9 a.m. trying to contain the animals, and all lanes were back open about 30...
Police K-9 bites girl, 4, while chasing suspect
Police K-9 bites girl, 4, while chasing suspect

A Shelby police dog chasing a man wanted on felony warrants bit a 4-year-old girl during the pursuit, officials said. The police chief told Channel 9 the suspect jumped on top of a car while trying to get away from the dog.  At some point, the suspect opened the back door of the car and a girl inside was bitten.  She was taken to the hospital...
After being denied marriage license, terminally ill woman, fiancé marry
After being denied marriage license, terminally ill woman, fiancé marry

Nearly a week after being denied a marriage license, a terminally ill woman and her fiancé have married.  Aubri Gillilan and husband Andrew Hendrickson wed at their home Friday afternoon.  A relative officiated the wedding as their four children and other loved ones watched.  A normally lethargic, Gillilan was giddy as she spoke...
Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe fired two days before retirement
Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe fired two days before retirement

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has fired former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, two days before McCabe was set to retire, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  Sessions said in a statement released Friday night that McCabe was less than truthful while under oath several times, according to The New...
More Stories