Did you know according to the NAACP more than 3,440 African-Americans were lynched in the United States from 1882 until the height of the Civil Rights Movement?

Huffington Post reports that Renee Thole, a white social studies teacher at a predominantly white Mason Middle School told her 13-year-old student Nathan he would be lynched if he didn’t “get on task”.  Nathan challenged the teacher’s comments as racist, but he told his mother Tanisha Agee-Bell who then complained to the school administration.

Per the investigation in Thole’s statement, Nathan was being disruptive in class when she instructed him to get back to work.

Your classmates are tired of you costing them points. When you come in tomorrow without your homework completed, you (sic) classmates are going to be angry and then become a mob who will want to lynch you.

Nathan’s mom complained to the administration and asked for her to be terminated on December 12th and on the 13th at Tanisha’s request, Renee Thole apologized to the class.  Nathan was removed from her class, but that wasn’t enough according to Nathan’s mom.

For me, that’s enough for her, as a social studies teacher especially, to be removed from the classroom.  I don’t know if she’s racist, but I know that what she said is racist.

The school has released a statement on Wednesday (January 10th):

Growing Greatness Together is our district’s vision. But, we have not arrived. We have work to do.

Sometimes we mess up. Clearly, that was the case here. And, even though this teacher did not set out to hurt a child - clearly that happened too. It was amazing that this young black man was brave enough to confront his teacher when the incident happened.

We have seen an uptick in the number of racially and culturally insensitive comments in our schools and community. Sometimes these are said out of genuine ignorance. For example, some students contend that they are not being offensive if they say n***a vs. the n-word. As a district, we want to be very clear. We are not OK normalizing racial slurs. Anyone who does so faces disciplinary action.

Our district will continue to invest in training and resources on culturally proficient practices for administrators, educators and classified staff members that lift up our district’s values.

On Saturday (January 13th) the Mason City School District announced via Facebook that Renee Thole was placed on administrative leave while the investigation is still underway.