A middle school teacher in Texas has been fired after a video posted on social media showed him telling students his race is “superior.”
“Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one,” the teacher was recorded telling students of various races last week inside a classroom at Bohls Middle School, a sixth- through eighth-grade school in Pflugerville, about 18 miles northeast of Austin.
“I think everybody thinks that,” the teacher says. “They’re just not honest about it.”
The remark appeared to be directed at two Black students. Some students challenged the teacher. One student says: “I’m not racist though. I like all types of kinds.” The teacher responds, “Did I say I don’t like people?”
Another Black student asks the teacher: “Wait, so you said you are what? You are a racist?”
“I think everybody is a racist at that level,” the teacher responds. The same student tells him: “No. But you said you are a racist.”
“I did. I did,” the teacher said. A pair of Black students then told the teacher that they no longer had respect for him.
The school principal did not immediately return a request for comment.
In a statement Monday, Douglas Killian, the superintendent of the Pflugerville Independent School District, described the discussion as “inappropriate, inaccurate, and unacceptable” and said “this type of interaction will not be tolerated in any” of the district’s schools.
“As of Monday morning, Nov. 14, the teacher in question is no longer employed by Pflugerville ISD and we are actively looking for a replacement,” he said. He did not identify the teacher, who appears to be white. Tamra Spence, a spokesperson for the district, said Monday she could not confirm the teacher’s race.
Killian said officials were made aware Friday “of an inappropriate conversation a teacher at Bohls Middle School had with students during an advisory class.”
Video of the conversation had been provided to administrators and posted on social media by some in the class, said Killian, who apologized in the statement to any parents whose children were shown in the video without their knowledge. He also apologized to students and families at the middle school “for the undue stress or concern this has caused” and said counselors and administrators are on hand for any of them who want to discuss the situation further.
“We want to reiterate that this conversation does not align with our core beliefs and is not a reflection of our district or our culture at Bohls Middle School,” he said, adding that the school district and the middle school staff “work together to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our students.”
“We always do our best to ensure the safety of all students; we encourage them to be self-advocates and let an adult know when something is wrong, as they did in this situation,” he continued. “If you see something, say something.”
Brian Hennington, whose 11-year-old son is a sixth grader at Bohls Middle School, said he and his wife, Monique, went to the school to voice their concerns last week after she saw the video posted on Facebook.
“The reason why we were appalled is because it was offensive and we definitely wanted to make sure that our voice was heard,” he said in an interview Monday. “I think more parents need to stand up, especially the parents who had kids in the classroom.”
Hennington said his son was offended and saddened by the video and that some of his friends were in the class where the discussion took place. He said the only suitable outcome would be for the teacher to be fired.
“He should be removed. He should be terminated,” he said. “He should not be teaching.”
“You’re not hired to bring your opinions into the classroom, especially when you have impressionable minds,” Hennington added. “Those kinds of exploratory conversations, that’s for the parents to expose their kids to.”