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School confirms middle school teacher used racially insensitive language, no discipline announced

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — After numerous parents contacted News 19 regarding audio recorded inside a Williams Middle School classroom last week, its principal has issued a statement.

The audio obtained by News 19 appears to feature a teacher discussing racial language, and says the ‘N’-word repeatedly. Several parents said off-camera that the clip was recorded by a student because they had already known the teacher had said offensive things before.

Principal Fisher Hedgeman released the following statement confirming the culturally insensitive language, but did not name the teacher.

“Using any type of language that does not align with these values is not acceptable,” Hedgeman said. “While this is a personnel matter, and we do not wish to repeat what was said, we can assure you that this matter will be addressed.”

Hedgeman’s statement went on to read that school leaders are meeting with students involved in the recording regarding any thoughts or emotions they may feel.

The principal’s statement concludes, “Our school culture and climate are critical aspects of any learning environment, and we want all our students to walk into a positive place for teaching and learning every day.”

News 19 contacted the Williams Middle School’s front office to speak directly with the principal to ask what discipline if any the teacher could face, but did not hear back.

Read Hedgeman’s full statement here:

In order to keep you informed, I want to make you aware of an incident that occurred late last week that has been brought to my attention.

A teacher at our school used some culturally insensitive language during a classroom conversation. We strive to promote a safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment for all students and staff members. Using any type of language that does not align with these values is not acceptable. While this is a personnel matter, and we do not wish to repeat what was said, we can assure you that this matter will be addressed.

We are also meeting with the students involved to speak with them about their thoughts and emotions surrounding this classroom discussion. If you would like to request someone for your student to speak with about this matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. Our school culture and climate are critical aspects of any learning environment, and we want all our students to walk into a positive place for teaching and learning every day.

Principal Fisher Hedgeman

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