Drexel Hill Middle School teacher on administrative leave after racially-charged altercation with parent

DREXEL HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A middle school teacher in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania was placed on administrative leave in the wake of a racially-charged altercation involving a parent in the school parking lot on Thursday.

The parent, who does not want to be identified, says the incident followed a minor car accident in the parking lot at Drexel Hill Middle School as he was dropping off his child.

In the video, you can see the teacher come out behind a truck several times as an altercation ensues with the parent.



"He and a teacher were involved in a car accident in the parking lot of Drexel Hill Middle School and that the teacher proceeded to make several racial and other derogatory remarks to him," said the Upper Darby School District in a statement.

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A Drexel Hill, Pa. teacher has been suspended after video shows a racially-charged altercation with a parent on October 10, 2019.



The school says the teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.

Upper Darby School Superintendent Dr. Daniel McGarry says he is not shying away from what happened, or the tough conversations that need to be had with staff and students.

Hosting a teacher training and in-school lessons for students, "This is as an opportunity to tell them this is not an appropriate way to act within your community or in public. As professionals, we always have to be above that. We have to take the higher stance," said Dr. McGarry.

The parent involved in the confrontation commends the district for how they are handling everything, adding that one teacher does not represent an entire school.

Parents at after-school pick up on Friday said they welcome the in-school training.

"Upper Darby is such a melting pot. In this community, I want them to know that when they come here they're not going to be judged by their teachers. This is where they come to learn and be educated. I want them to feel safe and secure," said Aisha Cooper's, whose daughter attends Drexel Hill Middle School.

Other guardians think administrative leave is not enough of a punishment for the teacher.

"I don't think the teacher should be allowed to stay. I think she should be fired not just on administrative leave," said Kitty Scherler, who picked up her grandchildren from school.

Read the full Upper Darby School District statement below:

"Upper Darby School District has investigated an incident in which a teacher in one of our middle schools made racially charged remarks to a parent of a student who attends the school. The Principal of Drexel Hill Middle School contacted central office when he was made aware of the exchange. I met with the parent to review and discuss the incident. The parent reported that during morning drop off on Oct. 10, 2019, he and a teacher were involved in a car accident in the parking lot of Drexel Hill Middle School and that the teacher proceeded to make several racial and other derogatory remarks to him. The video of this incident has been posted to Facebook.
We took this report very seriously. As a result of the investigation, the teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. We intend to vigorously address this issue.
Upper Darby School District does not condone or tolerate inappropriate conduct or speech associated with hate, racism, discrimination or intolerance of any kind. The deeply troubling comments and actions of this teacher are not indicative of the hundreds of outstanding teachers working in our schools each and every day. We are a District of over 12,500 students in a community of over 82,000 residents from over 60 countries, with over 70 different home languages. We are a community of many cultures and backgrounds, and we value our diversity. It strengthens us. Through the work we are doing around our Deep Equity Initiative, we will continue to challenge assumptions about the potential of the families whose children we serve and continue to increase access, opportunity, inclusion and support for all of our students.

The behavior, language, and treatment of one of our parents are not in keeping with our expectations of our teachers and staff. The comments and actions made by this teacher do not align with our core beliefs of Opportunity, Unity, and Excellence.
We will be working with our District's Deep Equity Team to develop ways to develop ways to reflect on this incident with staff across the District."
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