Leslie Ranier, a 46 year old South Florida reading teacher, has been suspended for ten days without pay after being accused of making racial slurs against a black child in her class. The catch here is that Ranier herself is black, and the Superintendent has found that the remarks she made to the student were a form of discrimination against him as a Haitian-American.
The Superintendent, Robert Runcie, says that Ranier’s recent remarks are part of a larger pattern of her “inappropriate conduct towards her part-Haitian, minority descent students,” and that she had “made a statement to a student that, ‘I wish they would put you in a boat and send you back where you came from.’…[and also] told a student to stand in the corner near a garbage can because ‘that’s where he belongs.” In spite of having been counseled on this matter Ranier was caught doing it again — this time caught on video.
From the complaint:
On or about May 6, 2011, Respondent Rainer, a high school teacher, engaged in inappropriate conduct by pointing a pointer in a Haitian student’s face in a threatening manner and making the statement, “look little chocolate boy.” Rainer also told the student, P.S., that he was “chocolate nobody wanted.” Rainer has also screamed at P.S. to “shut up.” P.S. recorded Rainer on video pointing the pointer at him and making the statement, “you got one time, chocolate,” with the classroom subsequently erupting in laughter.
Ranier says that the whole things is a “misunderstanding”: not only is this student not even Haitian, but she was referring to actual chocolate on her desk in the video of the incident, which she claims was edited to make her appear malicious. She also feels that these accusations are in retaliation to an incident involving her and another teacher pretending to sprinkle holy water on an atheist teacher during class, as well as accusations that she and another teacher made traumatizing remarks to Haitian students about the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Watch a Haitian activist denounce Ranier as she defends herself from these accusations:
It’s hard to know what to think when this woman seems so sincere but the pile of accusations against her is so varied and plentiful. However, it sounds to me like Ranier got a little too comfortable as a black person speaking to another black person and forgot that in spite of race we don’t all share the same sensitivities. Who knows what was really said and why, but she definitely needs to take a moment to reflect on that.
Read more at Huffington Post.