White teacher under fire for noose symbol targeting Black student

A white California teacher is under fire for taunting a Black student by wrapping a rope about his own neck to simulate a hanging by noose, reports the Atlanta Black Star. The teacher then cautioned the student by warning, “stay away from me.”

San Jose determined that the teacher’s actions amounted to a hate incident—but not a hate crime, local station ABC 7 reported.

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“Actions such as this that occurred are not tolerated,” said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia. “The case was taken to the District Attorney’s Office, was deemed to be a hate incident and not hate crime, so there were no charges filed.”

The teacher in question was reportedly talking to a group of football players on April 30 when the teacher wrapped an exercise rope around his own neck, to demonstrate a hanging. The teacher claims that the racially charged move was a joke, but the student who was targeted didn’t find it funny. He was the only black student present.

“It scared the kid and crushed him,” said Rev. Reginald Swilley, Cabinet co-chair of the Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet of Silicon Valley, a group investigating the incident along with the Santa Clara District Attorney’s office.

“Children are trying to be educated in an environment where they’re being threatened. Our community is very upset, and nobody did anything until the community spoke.”

The student also reported that the Santa Teresa High School teacher also made a lewd comment against him that same day. According to authorities, the teacher is on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation by the San Jose police and the school district.

“The teacher involved was placed on paid administrative leave and remains on leave at this time,” the East Side High School District said in a statement. “The district is not able at this time to discuss a pending personnel issue.”

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Superintendent Chris Funk said the teacher’s actions were unacceptable.

“That type of language coming out of someone who works for the district is unacceptable, and that is not the type of person I want in our system,” Funk said.”

“… The entire district leadership team is committed to redoubling its own efforts and to working with community stakeholders to ensure that discrimination, harassment and bullying are removed from our campuses, classrooms, programs, and workplace.”