SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – It’s been a difficult month for Filipino high school teacher Bernadette Yuson who was accused by students of using a racial slur in class.
Last month, the San Bernardino Sun newspaper reported that Yuson was put on administrative leave after a student complained that she used the “N” word as she was moving students’ desks around.
The student eventually complained to the district offices after the school’s office allegedly ignored him.
Yuson said she spoke to school officials and signed a letter admitting that she used the language.
According to her side of the story, a disruptive student yelled the “N” word from across the room. She then repeated the word asking if it is a good word to say.
Local reports and community members have stated that almost all the students’ statements reflect Yuson’s accounts.
Because of the issue, Yuson was placed on administrative leave.
“It is a tough time for me and my family,” she said.
“My emotional stress my pain, the media and threats that I received that’s why I don’t like to go out anymore. My daughter will just bring me anywhere. Because my picture is all over the newspaper and those parents who did not understand, they might think I’m a racist and the accusation is true. So I just don’t go anywhere,” she added.
But things are getting brighter. Yuson, who remains on leave, has been holding talks with the Filipino migrant center which came to her aid as she fights to clear her name.
“According to the letter I received, this is not disciplinary but they judged me already that I have been guilty of that slur accusation but my feeling this time is hindi na ako nag iisa. I am not alone,” she said.
“This is the issue of the Filipino community, and the Filipino community, our members are being accused of racial discrimination and when we found out that that’s not true, we felt the obligation, we have to fight back and clear Bernadette’s name,” said Tony Dorono, Executive Director of the Filipino Migrant Center.
A month since the incident, Filipino community members are upset that she has yet to be vindicated.
The teacher of 13 years has taken the problem in stride, turning to faith during these tough times.
“This problem is given to me by God with a purpose and I also thank God for this problem because I realize without Him I could not do anything and with this problem I can see the power of prayer,” she said.
The school district is expected to announce their findings within the following weeks. They are not only looking at the racial slur incident but they are also investigating how school officials handled the case from both Yuson’s and the student’s ends.
The superintendent will meet with the Filipino community this week.
After a meeting the African American community, Dorono said both sides have agreed, that this is not an issue between the two ethnic groups, but a chance to work together to address other issues within the school district. The two groups will hold a joint town hall forum within the next several days.