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Spanish Teacher Fired for Calling Student Racially-Charged Term in Awful Translation Screwup


You really do need to be careful about the words you use.

A teacher in the Bronx, New York has been fired for calling a student a “Negro,” although she claims the whole matter is nothing more than a misunderstanding during a language lesson.

Back in 2012, Petrona Smith, 65, was giving a lesson in how to say colors in Spanish. Smith who is black and from the West Indies, says she was merely using the word “negro” because that’s how you say “black” in Spanish.

A student at the bilingual PS 211 school reported Smith, who was fired.

Smith tried to clear up the matter by telling authorities how she was teaching the kids how to say different colors in Spanish. She also claims she told her students that “negro” was not negative jargon in this scenario, while going on to explain that someone with black skin would be called “moreno” in Spanish.

Her attorney said the whole matter is nothing short of preposterous:

They haven’t even accounted for how absurd it is for someone who’s black to be using a racial slur to a student. Talk about context! There’s a lot of things wrong here.”

Smith is also accused of calling her students failures, an accusation she says is the result of more miscommunication that occurred when she asked kids who failed a test to move to a different part of the classroom.

Smith, who claims she can’t find work since she was let go, is now suing for wrongful termination.

[New York Post]

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