Destinee Wornum was sitting in her English class at Boston Latin during a discussion about Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and its frequent use of the N-word. The students were talking about whether or not Twain should be taught in schools when the teacher stopped in front of Wornum and used the N-word to refer to her specifically.

“What’s up my n*****r?” the teacher asked the 15-year-old Wornum.

“I didn’t know what to say,” Wornum recalled. “I was uncomfortable and embarrassed.”

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But Wornum did not tell her mother about the October 2015 incident, because she did not know what to do about it. Her mother, Rosalind Wornum, said that she remembered her daughter coming home upset from school in the fall but that she would only say that she hated school.

“I honestly didn’t know how to handle it because it was like, how do I approach my adult teacher on a situation like this? What would that mean for my grade? What would it mean for my future at BLS?” Destinee Wornum said. “I was in fear of what could happen because it’s like I’m a girl from Dorchester and I ought to be grateful because I go to BLS. That’s the way that they make it seem.”

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