It was a teachable moment that went horribly wrong in the eyes of parents, and a racial slur was used in a Chisholm Middle School classroom.
"I can confirm that this happened," said Deb Hamm, superintendent of USD 373. "I am totally appalled that this happened. We are taking the situation seriously, and it is a personnel issue beyond that."
It happened Thursday in a language arts classroom at Chisholm Middle School. One student wrapped a scarf around their head, another called that student a terrorist.
Students say teacher Chris Hasan chastised a classmate for what was said — using the n-word in doing so and allegedly berating the student until he cried.
"The teacher found the word 'terrorist' offensive, and I am not disregarding that," said Jennifer Peterson, the parent of the student who used the word "terrorist." "But to me this is not comparable. She chastised him until he was in tears. … His exact words were she was emotional, out of control and had lost it."
According to the accounts, the teacher said to the student "How would you like it if I called you a … "
Upset parents have met with building principals, the teacher and district administrators about the incident.
District representatives would not comment further on disciplinary action — citing personnel confidentiality statutes.
"There are words that should never be uttered and are emotionally charged," Hamm said. "As adults we need to use good judgement with our language, especially around children."
Peterson talked about betrayed trust — a teacher being the first person to expose her son to racism.
"I am biracial and grew up dealing with racism from blacks and whites," Peterson said. "This is the first time my son has really had to deal with racism. The fact it came from a teacher is upsetting."
Her son has chosen to not speak to media about the incident, or how this has affected him.
"My son feels like this is all his fault," Peterson said. "That's a lot for a 13 year old to carry on his shoulders."