A high school teacher in a suburb of New Orleans took to Facebook to make some racially charged criticisms of Nike’s new campaign starring Colin Kaepernick — and now, that teacher is no longer working at Slidell High School.
Math teacher Valerie Scogin is no longer employed at the school, the St. Tammany Parish School System announced Tuesday, according to The Times-Picayune.
The district released a statement to the news organization saying it had completed an investigation into the incident, in which Scogins suggested via Facebook that if people of color did not like their quality of life, they could go back to another country.
“The process has been completed, and the teacher in question is no longer an employee of our School System,” the statement read. “This incident does not reflect our district’s values, mission, and vision, and we remain committed to providing a school culture that is inclusive and meets the needs of all our students, employees and community.”
Scogin, who has taught at the racially and ethnically diverse high school since 2008, became national news after posting to Facebook her thoughts on the Nike campaign featuring Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49er quarterback launched a national movement by taking a knee during the national anthem to oppose police misconduct and treatment of people of color in general. Kaepernick now finds himself without a team, but with an army of grassroots followers across the country. Nike’s campaign includes a commercial starring Kaepernick and a close-up photo of the activist superimposed with the words, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it.”
Scogin suggested that if people of color do not like living in the United States, they don’t have to put up with it.
“They don’t have to live in that country. They could go back,” Scogin wrote. “But it was their own people selling them into slavery to begin with and tearing (sic) them even worse in those countries of origin.”
Scogin was not done, also posting, “Want a better neighborhood? Move. You don’t have to choose to live in those zip codes. Want to not be stereotyped, tell people of that color to quit acting like animals and perpetuating the stereotype.”
The teacher, who graduated from Slidell High School herself in 2003, later took to Facebook to apologize, posting: “I made some remarks that were against my better judgement (sic) and sensibilities. I now wish I hadn’t. Anyone who has known me for any time should know that the last thing I want to do is to hurt anyone. I apologize for what I said and sincerely wish to avoid this in the future.”
Parents of Slidell High School students told 4WWL they were upset and taken aback by Scogin’s comments.
“That is something that I do not want around my children,” parent Susan Gould told the station.
Said parent Cadra Menard, “It makes me furious to know that an adult like that is able to influence our children for eight hours a day without our say so. That just makes me really upset.”