The incident occurred last October when Brown said he used the n-word after two of his students were passing notes with rap lyrics that included it, according to the Sun-Times. The lawsuit alleges Brown used the word during a “teachable moment” in the context of the book Huckleberry Finn in order to show how such language can hurt. But as the words left Brown’s lips, the school’s principal walked in to the Murray Language Academy classroom.
Murray Principal George Mason charged Brown with “using verbally abusive language to or in front of students” as well as “cruel, immoral, negligent, or criminal conduct or communication to a student, that causes psychological or physical harm.”
Brown has just served the first of his five days of suspension, but told WLS-TV he’s worried that this has ruined his reputation as a teacher.
“This cannot be a part of what people think I am,” Brown told the station. “My character has been assassinated.”
In response to the lawsuit, CPS Director of Communications Robyn Ziegler issued a statement. According to WLS-TV:
“The principal determined that the way the teacher used the word was improper and imposed a short suspension…. The teacher has received sufficient due process. In our opinion, his federal lawsuit is without merit.”
“It’s something I can’t accept and can’t have on my record and more importantly it’s not who I am,” Brown told ABC News. He has taught in predominantly black schools for more than 25 years.
Brown’s attorney William Spielberger says his client’s First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated, as well as his rights to free speech and due process.
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Is there ever I right moment for a teacher’s (black or white) to use the N-Word?