Black girl devastated after teacher excuses boy's N-word interruption: ‘White people can say it, too’

A Texas teenager is hurt -- and her mother furious -- after a teacher excused a white classmate's use of a racial slur in school.

Azariah Fennell, one of the only Black students at Doris Miller Junior High School in San Marcos, was sitting in class when a boy passing by opened up the door and interrupted the teacher by yelling the N-word, reported KXAN-TV.

"What's up, my n*gga?" the white teen said, and another boy answered: "Hey, what's up?"

A third boy spoke up, saying "Dude, you can't say that word," as students became riled up by the interruption.

However, according to Azariah's mother, the teacher seemed more interested in justifying the first teen's remark than angry at the disruption of her class.

"If black people can say it," the teacher said, according to mother Tasha Fennell, "then white people can say it, too."

Fennell has submitted two grievances to the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District requesting an apology and unconscious bias or cultural responsiveness training.

"I just don't feel like it was her place to make the decision to say that in front of impressionable kids," she said.

Fennell said the district questioned Azariah's account, and the school district issued a statement and seemed to lay some of the blame on the teen, who was the only Black student in class at that time.

"Azariah and her friends were discussing the Black Lives Matter movement when the incident occurred," the district's statement read. "The timing of the discussion may not have been appropriate but the nature of the conversation is relevant to Azariah's cultural background and could be acknowledged. Principal Jessie Gipprich Martin will pull Azariah during the school day and speak to her about the incident and how it made her feel."

The district has authorized a third-party audit which will take about three years to complete, and Fennell has been asked to take part in a diversity council that will launch in August.

"At this point we're just looking for respect, acknowledgement, and for the uncomfortable conversations to be had," Fennell said.