A high school teacher in Oklahoma has been suspended after she was seen and heard using the N-word in a tense standoff with a black student last week. The unnamed female teacher and an identified male student were involved in the altercation at Holdenville High School on Friday, according to KWTV.
The decision to place her on administrative leave comes four days after the teacher was caught on camera using racial slurs in the classroom. The use of the slur upset some Holdenville parents. The video of the incident, posted on Facebook, has seen gone viral, with social media users identifying the teacher as a Diane Bennett.
The video begins with a student wearing a hood from his sweatshirt over his head as he paces back and forth while talking to someone on the phone. "I'm going to walk home," the student can be heard saying, while telling the person on the other end of the line that the teacher had been yelling at him.
Suddenly, the teacher speaks out. "He may not be home soon," she says, before telling the student that she would be keeping him at the school. An altercation starts after that with the student calling the teacher a "b****" before then telling her to "watch her tongue" as he tries to push through her to get out of the classroom.
The teacher then attempts to physically block the student and warns him "don't you hit me" and directs him to stand at a distance away from her.
As the student tries to leave the classroom she grabs his backpack as he nears the doorway but the student breaks free and says: "Watch where you touch me. I'll knock your a** out" just before the teacher's racist outburst.
The teacher then can be heard saying: "You better get home then, n***a."
Meanwhile, other students in the classroom can be heard gasping after the teacher used the racial slur. One white student in the background covers his mouth with his hands.
The teacher then attempts to justify her choice of words that she said before the camera started recording about the student's apparent use of the expletive. "I asked you. I said, 'What would happen if I said it?' Right? And so, you didn't think it was OK,' the teacher says.
The student then grabs the glasses off the teacher's face, slams them to the ground and again says "bitch."
On Tuesday, Superintendent Randy Davenport issued a statement to parents noting that the teacher had been placed on administrative leave. "Holdenville Public Schools' main priority is the safety and well-being of our students. The district is fully aware of the incident that occurred at our high school on Friday, April 9, 2021," the statement read. "At this time, the staff member in question has been placed on administrative leave and will be through the duration of a full investigation is completed," it further mentioned.
Taleala Yarbrough, who posted the video to Facebook, said that the teacher had been with the school for a long time. "The fact that people are tryna defend Mrs. Bennet is beyond me! When you're a teacher you sign up to deal with kids," Yarbrough wrote.
The teacher reportedly did not return to the school when classes resumed on Monday. On Tuesday, she was placed on administrative leave while a "full investigation" of the incident takes place.