Florida Teacher Suspended After Using The ‘N-Word’ And Telling Students Dating African-American Boys Is Not Worth It
Florida Teacher Suspended For Using Racial Slurs
Jacksonville, FL’s Kernan Middle School suspended a math teacher named David Swinyar without pay Tuesday following an investigation launched in October when a parent complained about his behavior. The school ultimately interviewed over two dozen students and staff members who accused Swinyar of yelling at and confronting students in a “physically aggressive manner,” and making racist remarks — according to a copy of the district’s investigation report obtained by The Washington Post.
“If my daughter was dating someone who used the ‘f’ word, I wouldn’t have any respect for that n—–,” Swinyar said during one of his classes, according to the report.
Several students testified that the classroom grew quiet after that, seemingly in shock over Swinyar’s use of the slur. When some questioned him about it, Swinyar denied using the word, saying he would “never” do so, according to the report.
Shortly after the incident, one male student left the classroom to report Swinyar’s “aggressive tone and demeanor” to his mother, but Swinyar allegedly followed the student, “began ‘yelling’ at him . . . [and] also snatched the phone out of his hand,” the report said.
Another student told district investigators that Swinyar had been discussing relationships when he told students: “If your boyfriend says bad things to you and/or treats you wrong, that means that he’s acting like a n—–,” and, “You all should not be dating all these different African-American boys because they are not worth it.”
Wild right? What would you do if your kid came home and told you their MATH teacher said something like this?
There’s more though. Beyond the allegations of racist comments, the interviews depicted the teacher as someone who got angry easily and liked to “confront students by getting in their face,” according to the report.
“When Mr. Swinyar gets mad, he becomes aggressive,” one female student testified, according to the district’s report. “Additionally, Mr. Swinyar belittles students by talking down to them about their low [Florida Standards Assessments] scores. He loves to talk about politics and Donald Trump. He also talked about attending a black church. Mr. Swinyar often ‘mocks’ black preachers.”
However, despite finding Swinyar’s behavior rude, the student said that overall she thought he was a “good teacher,” according to the report.
Swinyar had no past disciplinary actions on his record, the report said.
The district concluded that “there is a preponderance of evidence to support that Mr. Swinyar exercised poor judgment when he engaged in inappropriate communication in the presence of, and/or toward students.”
Ordinarily, the district has a four-step disciplinary system to handle employees, beginning with a verbal warning, then a written reprimand before progressing to suspension without pay or termination, according to Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Willis, who emailed school board members and district officials about the decision to suspend Swinyar. Despite his lack of previous disciplinary actions, the district decided his conduct was severe enough to merit the suspension. Following the unpaid suspension, Willis says Swinyar is set to be “reassigned to an appropriate district position with no contact with students for the remainder of the year.” A spokesman for Duval County Schools says Swinyar is appealing the outcome of the investigation.
Several students also alleged that Swinyar watched pornography in the classroom on his laptop and cellphone, however, investigators didn’t find any “inappropriate sites or materials” on the computer so the report deemed those allegations unsubstantiated.
Last Wednesday, Kernan Middle School Principal Julie Hemphill sent a letter home to parents regarding Swinyar’s suspension according to a copy of the letter posted by Action News Jax reporter Danielle Avitable.
“The type of behavior demonstrated by the teacher is unacceptable and will not be tolerated because it does not reflect the positive learning environment we are committed to building at Kernan Middle School,” Hemphill wrote.
22 percent of Kernan Middle School students are African-American.
Swinyar’s contract ends in June, but he could be reconsidered for renewal this May. Do you think he deserves a second chance? Or should he be terminated?
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