Nearly three months ago the Pacific Grove Unified School District found itself at the center of community controversy over a student leader who used the N-word at an earlier date on video, only to have that video resurface and recirculate this summer.
Now another video from a year ago has surfaced, this time of a Pacific Grove High School English teacher reading aloud a passage from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” during which she said the N-word aloud.
“This was a mistake—one the teacher readily admits, and one that was made without malice,” a letter from Superintendent Ralph Porras and PGHS Principal Lito Garcia reads, sent to families on Oct. 22.
“During this time, a student and her parent rightly expressed concern about the incident and the teacher immediately acknowledged the pain she’d caused and apologized for her actions,” the letter continues.
Porras and Garcia said that there was an investigation and as a result they asked the teacher “to omit reading the slur or any other type of offensive speech which may be included in the class texts. The teacher agreed. Everyone involved recognized the seriousness of the situation and, regardless of context, the pain that the use of the N-word can cause.” They also said they updated high school teaching guidance regarding using such language.
The letter acknowledges recent concerns raised by the incident with the student and details how the district is entering partnership with organizations to “cultivate a teaching and learning environment where everyone can feel like they belong.” A new equity plan will be introduced within a few weeks.