Home Life 'Nothing comes from silence': Student speaks out after educator says slur

'Nothing comes from silence': Student speaks out after educator says slur

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CARTHAGE, Tenn. — It wasn’t the first time Kalee Bradley heard her high school educator use a racial slur in class while reading from a book. But this time was different.

The first time, she was in eighth grade and the teacher read aloud from “To Kill A Mockingbird.” But this time? Bradley’s now 17 years old, just weeks away from graduating from Brentwood Academy, a prestigious private school in Nashville, and looking forward to beginning college at Howard University. 

This time, she knew she had to speak up.

A faculty member was filling in for an African American history class and said the slur while reading from a textbook. It led to “an audible gasp” in the room, Bradley said.

But the substitute paid no mind to the reaction, Bradley said, and continued to repeat the word as she came across it in the reading.

School spokeswoman Jeanne Natwick said that after the faculty member said the word while reading a first-person historical text, she immediately apologized. 

“It is our expectation that all members of our school community will refrain from ever using the N-word — or any other offensive slur or curse word — in our school and classrooms,” Natwick said in an email to The Tennessean, which like USA TODAY, is a part of the USA TODAY Network. 

A video provided to The Tennessean of the incident showed the faculty member using the slur and continuing to read as a student reacts to hearing the word. It does not show the educator apologizing.

“I don’t know if I have the right word to describe it,” Bradley said. “I felt like there was a pit in my stomach. Everything just dropped.”



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