Lake Highlands Teacher on Leave After Video Captures Racial Slur, Students Rally for Change

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In a video recorded in a Lake Highlands High School classroom, a teacher can't be seen but is heard using a racial slur multiple times in front of students.

Today, the district confirmed that that teacher has been placed on administrative leave while it investigates adding, "The use of a racial slur in any education setting is offensive and inappropriate, regardless of the context."

Sophomore Dylan Barber, who recorded the video, said more needs to be done.

“There need to be consequences for racist people,” said Barber.

Today, he and his mother Denisha Barber were joined by dozens of students who left class to protest, saying this moment is just one of several alleged racist incidents and inequities faced by students of color at the school.

"This is not the first time this has happened at this school. It just keeps getting swept under the rug,” said Denisha Barber.

Junior Ki'Ara Purcell-Ivory said tensions began to grow last week due to dress code violations during homecoming spirit week, which she and others believed unfairly targeted black students.

"I do feel excluded in my own school. I don't feel a part of this community. I don't feel accepted when I walk into my classes, my AP classes where the kids don't look like me, where the kids don't come from the same racial background as me,” said Purcell-Ivory.

In her bi-weekly update, Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone addressed some of their concerns, encouraging students to talk with their school's equity council or administration.

“We want every student to feel safe and that they belong at school and we are committed to providing that,” said Stone.

Still, those who rallied Friday say they're not being heard and hope to prove there’s power in numbers.

"If they're all out here, it's not one kid making it up. If they're all out here supporting it, they all feel this way for a reason,” said Ki’Ara mom

In a letter to parents, Principal Kerri Jones said students who missed class to demonstrate would get unexcused absences.

She also said she’s met with several students over the last week to listen to concerns and encouraged others to come forward saying, " I feel optimistic we have engaged in productive dialogues and look forward to opportunities to move forward together."

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