Parents, students disturbed after teacher in Northwest Indiana uses racial slur during history lesson

A teacher at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Hobart used the word while teaching on slavery

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Parents and students at a school in Northwest Indiana are expressing anger and disgust after a teacher admitted to using a racial slur while teaching sixth and seventh grade students.

“It was very inappropriate, and disturbing, and upsetting," a parent of a student at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Hobart, Indiana told NBC 5 News. “I get an email from the teacher saying what she was teaching in the school, about the importance of slavery to plantation owners. And red flag right there.”

The history teacher was teaching the students about slavery and the Civil War when they used the 'n-word' multiple times.

"I was also talking about why the idea of slavery was so important to plantation owners. I was telling them how the n-word was used as a surname like Mr. or Mrs. as used in Mark Twain's "Huck Finn," the teacher said in an e-mail to parents.

The teacher's email continued, stating "I did use the word in class only to show the difference between Bob Smith the plantation owner verses Bob Smith the slave."

Some outraged parents and students believe the lesson could be taught without using the word.

“That could have just ended right there. The word did not even need to be said," one parent said.

Trinity Lutheran issued the following statement to NBC Chicago:

"In a recent history class, our school's history teacher employed the use of a particular word within the context of a historical lesson. It's crucial to note that this choice was made solely for educational purposes, aimed at fostering a comprehensive understanding of the historical realities associated with the term. The school administration emphasizes that such language is and will continue to be strictly confined to historical teachings and does not endorse or tolerate its use in any other context, particularly when intended to demean or offend. The incident underscores the importance of sensitive and responsible handling of historical materials in an educational setting, with a commitment to fostering an insightful and respectful learning environment."

Some believe the school's statement minimizes the impact the use of the word left on students.

"They’re making it seem like it’s not that big of a deal, and it hurts," the parent said. "I don’t want my child to feel like that at school.”

The parent wants to remain anonymous out of fear of repercussion, but says they want the school to use this situation as a jumping point for change.

“I want an apology, I want some kind of action taken and I want something done about the way that she teaches," the parent said.

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