California Mom Sues School District After 30-Minute Racist Rant by Teacher on Zoom

The family of a black sixth grader is suing the Palmdale School District in Southern California after a teacher allegedly used the Zoom video conferencing app to cast a 30-minute racist rant.

Katura Stokes said that on January 20, a science teacher named Kimberly Newman berated her and her son, a student at Desert Willow’s Magnetic Academy of Fine Arts, Science, and Technology. The joke allegedly came after the two met with Newman on Zoom to ask about their son’s difficulty accessing some of the school’s online teaching resources.

In a video of the alleged chatter recorded on Stokes’ cell phone and later made available by her attorney to KCBS-TV, Newman reportedly said, “Those parents, they are shit. Black, he’s black, they’re one black family. ”Newman reportedly made a comment to her spouse, unaware that the Zoom call was still being broadcast from her computer’s camera.

“Your son learned to lie to everyone,” Newman reportedly said elsewhere. “You taught him to apologize that nothing was his fault. Blacks do that, blacks do. Whites do it too, but blacks do it a lot more.”

The family of a black sixth grade student is suing the Palmdale School District after a teacher allegedly cast a racist 30-minute rant that was recorded on the Zoom video conferencing app. In this photo illustration, a black woman opens in her mouth in shock at something she saw in front of her on the open laptop.
RollingCamera / Getty

Stokes attorney Neil Gehlawat said Stokes was so incredulous about the gossip that she called the headmaster to let the headmaster overhear while the gossip went on.

At one point, one of the school staff allegedly called Newman in the middle of the chatter and asked, “You know there is a parent who is recording this? Did you do profanity and swear words and say these things about a student?” Newman allegedly denied she ended the Zoom call and then left, Gehlawat told KTLA.

In February, the Palmdale School District held a press conference at which district spokesman David Garcia described the behavior as “behavior.”[the] gross, professional misconduct by a now former Palmdale teacher, “reported the Antelope Valley Press.

Less than an hour after the call, Newman was ordered to go to the county office to face the Superintendent of Palmdale, Raul Maldonado.

A district spokesman said Newman allegedly refused to view the tape and would rather step down than undergo an investigation into the incident. Newman was immediately placed on paid administrative leave and resigned three days later.

The district then apologized to the family and offered counseling to Stokes and her son.

Stoke’s attorney, John C. Taylor, told KTLA that the incident highlighted the experience of countless black students being discriminated against just because of their skin color.

Newsweek contacted the Palmdale School District, Gehlawat, and Taylor for comment.

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