In Partnership with 74

Dozens rally in support of Paul Revere teacher accused of racism

Craig Clough | March 23, 2015

Your donation will help us produce journalism like this. Please give today.

Paul Revere charterThe details of a lawsuit filed last week were shocking: a teacher at Paul Revere Charter Middle School and Magnet Center in Brentwood allegedly used offensive racial slurs in class, and said that black people were not smart.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a mixed-race student at the school and led to the removal the teacher, Steven Carnine, from the classroom while the district investigates the claims.

But now a group of students and parents are crying foul as they participated in a rally today attended by dozens in support of Carnine, NBC Los Angeles reported. The supporters said the teacher did not make the comments he is accused of or that they were taken out of context.

An online petition asking that Carnine not be fired has been signed by more than 600 people. In the comments section of the petition, some students who said they were in the class in question state that Carnine is innocent of the accusations.

“Mr. Carnine said that stereotypes were wrong, but sadly they are still in our world today,” said one poster identified as Katie T. “He was discussing these stereotypes with us in order to help us understand history and how different races were treated and sometimes still are. He said that SOME PEOPLE think that black people are not smart and only good at sports.”

Katie T. also wrote that Carnine did not use the “n-word” when talking about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln, which the lawsuit claims he did.

“Mr. Carnine discussed how many people didn’t not like Lincoln, because they claimed he was an n-lover. He did not even use the word; he spelt it out and said ‘excuse my language, I really do not like using this word, but this is how harshly the African American people were treated,'” she wrote.

The claims of those in support of Carnine are in stark contrast to the details of the lawsuit, which accused him of using blunt, racially offensive language when also talking about Jews and Michael Brown, the black male who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri that set off a series of protests around the nation.

The lawsuit also claimed the school’s principal, Christopher Perdigao, ignored repeated complaints from the plaintiff’s parents.

LAUSD officials said they were reviewing the lawsuit.

“District policy is adamant that all students are to be treated with respect. The safety of students is L.A. Unified’s highest priority,” the district said in a statement, according to City News Service.

Read Next