Audra Ritter, a middle school teacher, was fired after she was accused of racism against one of her black students. Ritter had placed a piece of tape on the student's face which read, "I have nothing nice to say."
The incident took place on May 4 at the at North Brandywine Middle School in West Brandywine Township, Philadelphia.
Ritter Used the Tape on the Agitated Student
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the decision to fire Ritter, who is also President of the district's teachers' union, was taken by the Coatesville Area School District following a meeting on Tuesday. Ritter, a special-education and English language arts teacher at the school was fired following a 7-1 vote by the district's school board.
The outlet reported in the incident that took place last month; the erring white teacher placed the tape on the face of an agitated black student. The piece of tape, placed on the nose of the child, read, "I have nothing nice to say."
The statement of charges revealed that following the incident, the student was "humiliated and offended," and requested an excuse from Ritter's class. However, Ritter found the student and "began threatening retaliation" against the student, the outlet stated.
Accusing the white teacher of racially discriminating against the student, the board claimed that Ritter also violated the student's individualized education program for disabilities, the district's code of employee conduct, and state law around schools' use of behavioral interventions.
Ritter Claims to Be Using Humor to Diffuse the Situation
In her defense, Ritter claimed that the agitated student was shouting at her classmate prior to the PSSA standardized tests. Claiming that she used an art tape to diffuse the situation with humor.
Further, claiming that she shared a good bond with the victim, Ritter revealed that after the tape was placed on her nose, the student was laughing and stayed calm.
"I admit to the tape â I admit to all of that," Ritter told the outlet. Stating that she was disappointed and disheartened by the board's decision and voting, Ritter said that the district had ignored her side of the story.
"Where are the people speaking with the evidence of all the other charges?" said Ritter who has 28 years of teaching experience. Further stating that she wasn't discriminating against the student, Ritter said that she was allowed to apologize to the student and her family.