Catholic high school teacher fired after racist abuse

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CHICAGO (AP) — A Catholic school in Chicago has fired a history teacher after she repeatedly used a racial slur against black people during a class discussion about sports team names and at a meeting with administrators.

Mary DeVoto taught Native American culture for a world history class at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School. She started a discussion about the former name of the Washington Commanders and why it was offensive. She told students the team’s previous name was as bad as the N-word, using the full word.

A student recorded the lecture, which was circulated on social media. The school moved to suspend DeVoto and resigned her position later Monday.


In a statement, school officials said the dismissal was necessary “because of a subsequent conversation with the teacher in which the same racially slurful phrase was communicated in full multiple times, despite clear and formal instructions to stop it.” The N-word is never acceptable.”

DeVoto, who admitted she had reused the slur in discussions with administrators, told the Chicago Sun-Times that she would not use it again.

“You can’t just talk about the wonderful things in history, we have to talk about the downsides,” DeVoto said. “But I agree, I didn’t present this lesson well and it wasn’t conducive to my students’ learning experience. I’m embarrassed and want to fix it.”

Her family has started a petition to get her job back. The school administration has not commented on this.

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