The Kankakee school district has placed a high school teacher on leave and is currently investigating the educator for using a racial slur against a student in an incident that was caught on video.
The incident happened in a classroom at Kankakee High School. Students recorded the interaction, telling administrators the teacher used the slur during a minor conflict with Michael Nelson, who said he's still in shock.
'I'm Losing My Job Anyway'
Video footage of the incident went viral after popular TikToker @thatdaneshguy shared the clip on his Instagram.
The video starts off with the teacher and the student arguing over something. "You're not smart," the student is heard telling the teacher, prompting the teacher to call him the N-word.
The teacher's comments leave the class gasping. "Yeah, I'm losing my job anyway," the teacher, later identified as John Donovan, continues.
Watch the clip below:
Kankakee School District Releases Statement
"It made me feel like less than a Black man, a young Black man at that, from a small community that's trying to do the most for that community," Nelson told ABC7 Chicago.
The superintendent for Kankakee schools said they're "disappointed" by the incident and the teacher has been placed on leave pending an investigation.
"We are disappointed with the incident that happened in a classroom at Kankakee High School. A teacher (in a minor conflict with a student) chose to use a racial slur as the student independently exited the classroom," the district said in a statement.
"The teacher has been placed on paid leave pending a full investigation. As of the end of the day today, KHS administration have collected statements from the students, talked with the students in the classroom and reviewed several videos," the statement continued.
"The video does not fully capture the work that needs to happen locally, within the state of Illinois and nationally. The video is a system of a much larger societal issue. Although this is a disheartening situation for our students, families and public education, the root of the problem must be addressed in a systemic way."
"The students in the classroom reported that they were shocked and had never experienced a teacher using that terminology towards a student," the district added. "Kankakee will continue the work that we started during the 2021-22 school year (following the pandemic) around Diversity, Inclusion and Equity as well as student/adult wellness."