Two weeks ago, we reported about an incident that happened mid-March during classes when a professor was caught on camera saying the N-word at least twice and calling his students morons. The professor knew that some of his students might be recording him, but he obviously didn’t care saying “If you’re recording me, I don’t care because I’m tired of it.” This incident sparked a lot of debate online and among the local community.
But even more concerning is the fact that hate crime incidents in schools are on the rise since students got back to in-person teaching following the several-month long period when students had to follow the educational process from their homes due to the pandemic. Despite all the efforts, both students and teachers are almost equally involved in such incidents and the situation is slowly, but surely getting out of control.
Late March, yet another hate crime incident happened in school and the story was brought to the light of the day by CST and according to the outlet, a longtime public school history professor was accused of hanging a black doll from the cord of a pull-down projector screen at the front of the classroom in Whitney Young Magnet High School, the same Illinois high school once attended by Michelle Obama.
The professor involved in the incident was identified as C. Pasowicz and it was confirmed that he has been teaching in the same school for years. The incident sparked a lot of debate and anger among Pasowicz’s colleagues in the school and the local community forcing the school principal to send an email to students explaining that the professor said ‘he found the doll in his room unattended and wanted the students to see if someone would claim it.’
The incident reportedly escalated when a Black teacher, who saw the black hanging doll dressed in a blue football uniform, entered in a heated argument with Pasowicz as he recognized it as reference to a lynching. The confrontation between Pasowicz and the Black teacher, whose identity was not revealed, was caught on camera and viewed by the outlet.
‘Stupid,’ said one teacher. ‘You’re f—— stupid’ the other teacher replied. ‘You’re even more stupid.’ ‘Shut up, shut up!’ the first teacher shot back and says to the students, ‘He’s wrong.’ To which the other teacher says ‘You’re wrong. I’m not going to stand up here with you…making me feel uncomfortable,’ Daily Mail reported.
The day after the incident, the Black teacher was not in some of his classes. Students posted to social media to ‘free’ the teacher and ‘start a riot,’ shortly after some of them had a meeting with the school administrators and the school staff about the incident. Two days later, the school district confirmed Pasowicz has been suspended.
Change.org petition, set by the students after the incident that gained nearly 1,300 as of writing of this article, called for Pasowicz to be removed because he had for years ‘spread bigotry and misinformation throughout the school as a world history teacher. He has been a perpetrator of hate crimes and microaggressions against students and teachers alike.’ In addition, the petition claims Pasowicz had used slurs against trans people, asking an Asian person to translate a video of a baby speaking Chinese and ‘making a mockery of the Black Lives Matter Movement.’
According to the teacher’s union that represents both Pasowicz and the Black unidentified teacher, 90% of the student population in that school are Black and Brown children.