An Iowa student says his high school economics teacher told him to call him “master.”
Jabre White, a Roosevelt High School senior says he was shocked when he heard Mr. McCurtain’s remarks.
Roosevelt High School teacher Shawn McCurtain told the class of students to head downstairs to take their final in economics.
“Yes, sir,” senior Jabre White recalls telling him. “You meant to say, ‘Yes, sir, master,’ ” McCurtain allegedly shot back.
That comment stunned, hurt and angered White, a popular senior at the west-side Des Moines high school that had 1,708 students last school year. It troubled his mother even more.
Nicholle White of West Des Moines contacted the Reader’s Watchdog, wanting to know why school officials would not disclose how they responded after the educator was said to have used a slur reminiscent of the slave era.
“I have tried to be humble,” she said of her dealings with school officials. “But I also feel I need to express as a mother, and as a black woman, how I feel.”
According to emails forwarded by White to the Watchdog, Vice Principal Joseph Blazevich looked into the incident and confirmed the comment was made.
He wrote to White that he found the incident to be “shameful” and “terrible,” but added that “the instructor was very remorseful.” He did not say what disciplanary action was pursued due to district personnel matters being confidential under state law.
District officials don’t deny the comment happened either with Spokesman Phil Roeder telling the Ledger, “To put it mildly, it was wrong in every way you look at it,” he said.
McCurtain is still employed by the district. He called White this month to apologize and said that he meant the comment to be humorous.
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