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Parents demand California school fires teacher over audio of her using the n-word twice in class

Parents and students have demanded a California school fires a Spanish teacher after a recording emerged of her using the n-word twice in class and saying it ‘used to be a horrible ugly word and it’s not anymore.’ 

Katherine Sanders, who teaches seventh-grade Spanish at Kit Carson International Academy in Sacramento, was caught on audio back on June 15 telling students it was okay to say the racial slur because she hears it ‘all the time’ in the area where she lives. 

Sanders, who is white, compared the racist term to the f-word during a lesson discussing language, on the same day seniors graduated from the school.  

The incident has sparked a backlash from parents, students and activists who are calling for her to be be fired while the Sacramento City Unified School District said it has launched an investigation and is offering counselling to any students impacted. 

Parents and students have demanded a California school fires a Spanish teacher after a recording emerged of her using the n-word twice in class and saying it ‘used to be a horrible ugly word and it’s not anymore.’ Kit Carson International Academy in Sacramento above

In the recording, first obtained by CBS Local, Sanders is heard telling her 12 and 13-year-old students that some words have lost their meaning over time, arguing the n-word is no longer offensive. 

‘I know the f-word is something we hear constantly. It used to be a nasty, ugly word and now it’s like the word [n-word] which everybody says or [n-word],’ she says.

‘Which used to be a horrible ugly word as well and it’s not anymore somehow.’

At least one student spoke out in the lesson, saying they felt uncomfortable and pushing back against her use of the word.

‘Wait, wait, how is that not a horrible word?’ the student asks.  

But Sanders continued, justifying her use of the slur because other people say it. 

‘Where I live, I hear it all the time,’ she tells them.

Sanders went on to urge the students to ‘think about words that make things cheap’ and even called the discussion ‘a great conversation.’ 

‘Oh, what a great conversation, I love it,’ she says in the audio. 

‘I didn’t anticipate this conversation, I’d love to keep going because I want to hear what you have to say.’

Her comments sent shockwaves across the local community, while students came forward to claim she has also used offensive language in the past.

One seventh-grade student who witnessed Sanders using the n-word told the Sacramento Bee she and her fellow classmates were ‘shocked’ and ‘didn’t know what to say.’

Jaslene Freeman said Sanders’ argument that other people say the n-word where she lives is not an excuse. 

Katherine Sanders (pictured), who teaches seventh-grade Spanish at Kit Carson, was caught on audio back on June 15 telling students it was okay to say the racial slur because she hears it 'all the time' in the area where she lives

Katherine Sanders (pictured), who teaches seventh-grade Spanish at Kit Carson, was caught on audio back on June 15 telling students it was okay to say the racial slur because she hears it ‘all the time’ in the area where she lives

‘Whether a bunch of kids use it or not, or whatever neighborhood she lives in,’ she said. 

‘It doesn’t matter if it’s an overly-used word, it still gives her no right to use it at all, because it’s a derogatory term.’ 

Another student, Monica Sandoval, said concerns had been raised in the past about the Spanish teacher using offensive terms to describe Latino students but that they went ignored by school administrators.

‘We would try telling her and she would get mad and send us to detention,’ Sandoval told the Sacramento Bee. 

‘I always got detention in her class whenever I would tell her something about it.’

Former student Noah Rozzo echoed that Sanders has a history of using such language.

‘She said it and I felt very hurt because it’s been used to be discriminative and stuff,’ Rozzo told Fox40. 

A DailyMail.com request for comment from Sanders was unanswered Monday. 

Parents and members of the community are now demanding she be fired from her job at the district.  

Berry Accius, a community activist and founder of Voice of the Youth, called for her immediate removal and said an apology was not enough at a briefing on July 1, attended by the district’s Superintendent Jorge Aguilar.  

‘A teacher that us teaching a Spanish class at Kit Carson, she used used vulgar, racial, insensitive language with the youth in the class,’ Accius said. 

The district's Superintendent Jorge Aguilar (in a polo shirt and dark face mask) listens at a briefing about the incident on July 1. He said Sanders' behavior would not be tolerated

The district’s Superintendent Jorge Aguilar (in a polo shirt and dark face mask) listens at a briefing about the incident on July 1. He said Sanders’ behavior would not be tolerated

‘This was a history of bad language, ignorance and racism here by this teacher.’ 

Accius is also calling for increased efforts to improve anti-racism in the district’s schools, including increased recruitment of black and Latino teachers, adopting a zero-tolerance policy for hate speech on school ground and stopping teachers from opting out of anti-bias training.

‘What happened to professionalism?’ Accius said. 

‘What happened to all those so-called ‘implicit bias trainings’ and ‘anti-racism trainings’ that these schools are supposedly having these teachers go through every year?’ 

Aguilar addressed the community at the event, saying Sanders’ behavior would not be tolerated by the district. 

‘What happened here at Kit Carson is not going to be condoned, is not going to be tolerated,’ he said. 

‘Any comment using a racial slur, suggesting it is okay, is absolutely not going to be tolerated.’ 

He insisted he stands ‘in solidarity’ with the concerned parents and ordered an investigation. 

The superintendent said Sanders ‘is no longer working with our students’ but would not confirm if she had been fired, saying it was a personnel issue.   

Kit Carson International Academy pictured above. The district said Sanders is no longer working at the school but has not confirmed whether or not she has been fired

Kit Carson International Academy pictured above. The district said Sanders is no longer working at the school but has not confirmed whether or not she has been fired 

The board also released a statement saying it was ‘horrified’ by what had happened and that ‘racism, racist behaviors, and racist language’ will not be tolerated. 

‘The Sacramento City Unified School Board was horrified to learn that a teacher at a school in our district used racist language in the classroom,’ it said. 

‘Our Board condemns racism and the use of racist language in the strongest terms. 

‘Racism, racist behaviors, and racist language are unacceptable, and will not be tolerated in the Sacramento City Unified School District.’ 

The board said it had directed the Sac City Unified staff to ‘act quickly to fully investigate this incident and to take appropriate action to address the situation’ and urged ‘students and families impacted by this incident to contact Sac City Unified’s Student Support Services.’ 

Sacramento City Unified School District declined to comment on whether Sanders had been fired as the investigation is still ongoing.  

DailyMail.com has also reached out to Kit Carson International Academy for comment.  


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