SCHOOLS

Hamilton Middle School at 4801 Waukesha St.

Another Madison School District staffer has been disciplined for allegedly using a racial slur around a student.

A Hamilton Middle School substitute teacher is “on leave and not at school,” according to an email sent to parents by principal John Burkholder Thursday. He wrote that the “serious incident” occurred “at school recently.”

“Our top priority has been to support the student involved and take the appropriate next steps, and that is where our focus has been,” Burkholder wrote. “While I cannot get into details, I want to emphasize that racial slurs have no place in our school.”

The district did not release any additional details on the incident.

A year ago, on Oct. 31, 2018, Hamilton experienced a reported incident of a staff member using a racial slur, beginning a trend of at least seven such incidents over the school year. The run of incidents was part of what led to the district’s “zero tolerance” practice for racial slurs.

That practice drew international criticism earlier this school year after West High School security assistant Marlon Anderson was fired for using the n-word in telling a student not to use the term toward him. Students and staff protested, and the district rescinded Anderson’s firing. School Board members and district leadership have since called for a reconsideration of the practice, specifically stating that context should play a role in disciplinary decisions when it comes to use of the n-word.

Madison365, which first reported the most recent Hamilton incident, reported the student involved was the same student involved in last year’s incident. Citing the student’s mother, the online news outlet reported the white substitute was discussing last year’s incident with the student and used the n-word on Oct. 17.

Madison Teachers Inc. executive director Doug Keillor wrote in an email Thursday that MTI understands “this matter remains under investigation by the District.”

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Scott Girard is the local k-12 education reporter at the Cap Times. A Madison native, he joined the paper in 2019 after working for six years for Unified Newspaper Group. Follow him on Twitter @sgirard9.