Filipina teacher accused of racial slur speaks out

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 19, 2014

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif – The Filipino teacher embroiled in a racism allegation has made her first public comment.

Cajon High School teacher Bernadette Yuson has recalled the events of the day that led to the “n-word” being said in class.

The San Bernardino Sun which first reported the story has uploaded the full statement.

Yuson’s statement says the incident began when one of her students had taken her chair and had become disruptive in class. The student had yelled the “n-word” across the room, leading the distracted Yuson to confront the student and say, “Wow! “N-word”, is that a good word?”

At that moment she recalled a confrontation with the student who she says tried to accuse her of calling him the racial slur. After she explained to him she was not referencing anyone, and just repeating what he said, the student walked out the room.

The incident has reached the NAACP and calls for her firing.

“What we are calling for is the removal of that teacher from the classroom. If you can refer to our students, our kids, as being (expletive) then you don’t need to teach them. I have no confidence at all that you have high expectations,” said A. Majadi of
African American Education Collaborative as he moderated the NAACP-hosted town hall.

According to a report in the San Bernardino Sun, the Cajon High School math teacher was rearranging the students’ seats earlier this month when an African American student asked why she was then the black people around. The student then claimed Yuson responded by saying, “I want to move the (N-word).”

The alleged comment was enough for the student to complain straight to the school district after the school’s administration allegedly failed to address the complaint.

Aside from Yuson’s firing the African American education collaborative is also requesting a review on how the complaint was handled.

Yuson has been teaching at Cajon High School since 2001 and remains on an administrative leave as the school district continues to investigate the case.

School district officials and staff attended the town hall led by Superintendent Dale Marsden.

“Since my office was notified I immediately and personally began to initiate the follow-up actions to the initial investigation. I’ve personally been to Cajon High School over the last several days to speak to students and staff regarding this incident and I want to assure you that we are committed to taking every measure necessary to understand the details of and ensure that our students continuously learn at a kind, caring environment,” Marsden said.

A former student of Yuson who also knows the complainant spoke highly of the embattled teacher. The Cajon High School senior also believed that student attitudes may have played a role in the alleged incident.

“She’s a very petite person and always in a very large class and the class it’s very hard for her to control the class. I’ve seen kids like measure her up and pressure her like walking over her in the hallways and stuff. So when I look at that I do see that this lady was probably provoked. I’m not saying it’s okay for her to say what she said, if she did that. I’m not one to jump into conclusions, but I also think that some things should be taken to student on how they are suppose to behave in the classroom,” he said.

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