Chicago Public Schools officials are investigating an incident in which two teachers got into a heated, profanity-laced argument in front of students after a white history teacher hung an African American doll from a cord in front of his classroom.
The Chicago Sun Times reports that the incident took place at Whitney Young Magnet High School. Video of the incident quickly circulated on social media among the school’s 2,100 students. Police said they had no record of the altercation, but Principal Joyce Kenner said in an email to students and families late Tuesday that an official incident report was filed with the district and that the school would follow “the official disciplinary protocol established by Chicago Public Schools.”
A photo shows the doll — a football player in a blue uniform — with the cord around its neck, dangling in front of a white board in the room in the school.
“Unfortunately there was an incident in which a teacher hung a small stuffed African American football doll by a pull down string from a projector screen in their classroom,” Kenner wrote. “The teacher indicated he found the doll in his room and wanted the students to see if someone would claim it. A colleague approached the teacher about the doll and the conversation between the teachers became contentious.”
Both teachers involved are in the social sciences, according to the school’s website. The white teacher has been at the school for years, while the African American instructor started more recently, staff said.
According to the newspaper, a student recorded video of the incident. It provided this transcript of the altercation:
“Stupid,” one teacher says.
“You[’re] f- - - - n’ stupid,” the other teacher replies. “And you’re even more stupid [inaudible].”
The other teacher responds, “Shut up! Shut up!” In a comment apparently directed at students, he adds, “He’s wrong.”
“You[’re] wrong!” the other teacher yells back. “I’m not going to stand up in here with you, ... you making me feel uncomfortable...”
The principal did not indicate whether the teachers might face discipline and a district spokeswoman said “the District does not comment on an ongoing investigation or personnel matters.”