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A high school science teacher in Missouri has been fired following the use of racial slurs in his classroom. John Magoffin, a tenured teacher in Harrisonville School District, whose classes include AP sciences and advisory, referred to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as “Black privilege day,” among other instances of racist behavior.

Among the alleged complaints raised by students who felt deeply uncomfortable with Mr. Magoffin’s explicit racism were claims that he stated he had never seen racism in the United States. He also allegedly used the n-word in a conversation with a student. 

Mr. Magoffin’s attorney, Jean Lamfers, said in an interview, “The characterization that my client is some kind of a racist person and that this is a racial slur that he directed at anybody is an absolutely false narrative.” 

One student told the Harrisonville school principal that Mr. Magoffin would not allow her to remove her face covering during a class break due to being Black.

Mr. Magoffin, who had been on paid leave since the allegations surfaced in April, requested a hearing after the school district administration threatened him with being fired over his racist actions. A public meeting, which lasted an exhaustive 11 hours, ended with the board deciding to fire Mr. Magoffin.

The school board did not confirm a final vote in the decision to fire Mr. Magoffin. The board did release a statement, which confirmed the decision. “The board concluded that Mr. Magoffin’s use of inappropriate language violated the rules and regulations of the district and was unacceptable conduct for a tenured teacher in the district.”

The statement continued with appreciation for the students who came forward to address the former teacher’s racism. “We commend the students and parents in bringing forth their concerns to the administration so that this matter could be appropriately addressed.”

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...