Farmington High substitute teacher removed over 'racist term,' district says

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Farmington High School substitute teacher has been fired after using a "racist term" to address a Black student, district officials announced Thursday.

In a statement, the district did not describe the comment or the circumstances but said the instructor was "immediately removed from the building, and will not be returning to Farmington High School, or anywhere else in the district."

The district added: "We are deeply saddened by this and apologize to all who have been negatively impacted by this unfortunate incident. ...The school is working hard to support anyone who was hurt, troubled, or concerned by this incident, and both the school and the District will keep dedicating ourselves to eradicating this type of behavior."

WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) reported Farmington High students walked out in protest after the incident was captured on camera.

In a brief clip posted on Facebook Thursday, a woman walking amid desks in a classroom was heard telling a youth: "Get your cotton picking hands off of it." She was recorded saying it again when someone asked what she said.

In its statement Thursday, Farmington Public Schools representatives said racism "whether implied or direct, whether in words or actions, has no place" in the district. 

"While we can conduct background checks and fingerprint for substitute teachers, we cannot screen for what's in their hearts and minds,” Superintendent Christopher Delgado said. 

“When racist sentiments are expressed, they are intolerable and swift action will be taken to remove those individuals to ensure a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.  As superintendent, my message is clear — if you harbor racist feelings and do not embrace our diversity as a strength, do not apply to Farmington Public Schools."