OH teacher accused of telling black student he might be lynched

Olive Hawkins
January 13, 2018

Tanish Agee-Bell said she initially did not believe her 13-year-old son, who is an eighth-grader at Mason Middle School.

Agee-Bell contacted the school and had her son removed from Thole's class, but school officials declined to say whether the teacher had faced any disciplinary measures.

Agee-Bell said this happened during the first week of December, but her son did not tell her about it until a week later because he thought he might get in trouble for talking back, telling his teacher what she said was racist.

Upon learning about the incident, Agee-Bell went straight to the Mason Middle School superintendent's office. "He had told her, 'that's racist'".

Welling up with tears, Tanisha accused Mason City Schools of setting up initiatives such as LGBTQ safe spaces for children, but failing to take advice on how to prevent vulnerable kids from being bullied.

"Sometimes we mess up".

Thole apologized to Nathan in class but didn't explain to the mostly white class why her remark was wrong, and Agee-Bell said school officials haven't taken the issue seriously enough.

More than 3,440 African-Americans were lynched in the United States from 1882 to the height of the civil rights movement, according to the NAACP.

"(She said) if he didn't get back on task, his friends were going to form an angry mob and lynch him", Agee-Bell told WXIX.

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To FOX, Agee-Bell added, "I don't know if she's racist, but I know that what she said is racist".

"You shared that you realized that you cannot take that moment back but can only strive to make it a teachable moment for you and the students with your actions", reads the letter of reprimand, which the school district released to ABC News.

Agee-Bell says her son might have been distracted or talking too much, but she say's Thole's comments crossed a line.

Thole offered Nathan an apology in class, saying she meant no harm by her comment. "It was wonderful that (Nathan) was courageous enough to confront the teacher".

"My son was walking around thinking he did something wrong", Agee-Bell said.

"We have seen an uptick in the number of racially and culturally insensitive comments in our schools and community", Carson wrote in a letter to parents. "I'm very sorry", he said, the Journal-News reported. For example, some students contend that they are not being offensive if they say n***a vs. the n-word. "Clearly, that was the case here", the district said.

"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". There's no word on whether Thole was disciplined for her actions, however.

During the public portion of the Mason school board meeting Tuesday, officials praised a guest speaker who discussed race and empathy at the district last week.

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