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Catholic high school teacher fired after using racial slur

February 6, 2022 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago Catholic school has fired a history teacher after she repeatedly used a racial slur for Black people during a class discussion on sports team names and in a meeting with administrators.

Mary DeVoto was teaching Native American culture for a World History class at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School. She began a discussion of the Washington Commanders ′ former name and why it was offensive. She told students the team’s former name was as bad as the N-word, using the full word.

A student recorded the lecture, which circulated on social media. The school moved to suspend DeVoto and later terminated her position on Monday.

In a statement, school officials said the firing was necessary “because of a subsequent conversation with the teacher in which the same racial slur was communicated in its entirety several times despite clear and formal directives to stop. The N-word is never acceptable.”

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DeVoto, who acknowledged she used the slur again in talks with administrators, told The Chicago Sun-Times said she wouldn’t use it again.

“You can’t just talk about wonderful things in history, we have to talk about the underbelly,” DeVoto said. “But I agree, I did not present that lesson well and it wasn’t conducive to the learning experience for my students. I am mortified and want to fix it.”

Her family has started a petition to reinstate her job. School officials haven’t commented on it.