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hamilton middle school

Hamilton Middle School is located at 4801 Waukesha St. in Madison. A teacher resigned recently after school officials investigated her usage of a racial slur against a student, according to a letter sent out by the school.

A Hamilton Middle School teacher who was under investigation for allegedly using a racial slur against a seventh-grade student earlier this month has resigned, according to a letter sent out by the school. 

The teacher had intervened in a conversation between two students by responding to a black student, "How would you like it if I called you a n-----?" according to the student's mother. 

"We are writing to update you that the staff member involved in the incident using a racial slur has resigned and will not be returning to MMSD," Principal Jessica Taylor said in a Friday letter. "We want to acknowledge that this information likely raises many different emotions for various members of our community."

The school addressed the incident in a Nov. 6 letter to parents, saying that it had asked the teacher not to report to school while officials investigated.

"First and foremost, I know we all agree that a situation like this at our school is deeply concerning and unacceptable," Taylor said on Nov. 6. "As soon as we were informed, we immediately followed our protocol to investigate and take follow-up action."

The mother of the student said her daughter was the only black student in her class, and that other students who witnessed the incident began to repeat the racial slur.  

The teacher admitted to using a racial slur with the student in her meeting with the principal and was apologetic, according to the student's mother.

The student did not return to school for days after the incident because of the ripple effect it had around the school, her mother said. 

“One student in particular flat-out called her a n---- to her face and was bold about it,” the mother told the Cap Times earlier this month. “Again, he saw his teacher normalizing it and making it OK, it makes sense he thought it was OK.”

The student returned to school on Tuesday, according to the mother. 

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Taylor said in her Friday letter that all students would be viewing a message from the principal Monday where they would reiterate a no-tolerance policy on the use of racial slurs.

"To support specific students on Monday, we will be offering opportunities for students to participate in restorative circles to give students a chance to process thoughts and feelings," Taylor wrote. "Student Services Staff will also be available to support students who may want to process individually."

Hamilton Middle School is named after Velma Hamilton, a trailblazer in Madison’s civil rights and education communities who helped found the Madison chapter of the NAACP.

Six percent of Hamilton’s students are African-American, according to Madison School District records.

"I'm pleased with the MMSD decision and my child was kept at the forefront since the beginning," the student's mother told the Cap Times following the decision. "It may have took a few weeks but it was well worth the wait."

Education Reporter

Negassi Tesfamichael is the local education reporter at The Cap Times. He joined the paper in 2018. He previously worked as an intern at WISC-TV/Channel3000.com and at POLITICO.