Santa Teresa High School

(Photo credit: KPIX 5)

San Jose High School Teacher Under Investigation Over Racist Gesture Towards a Student

June 07, 2018 - 11:57 am

SAN JOSE (KCBS Radio) - A Santa Teresa High School teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave after reportedly making an "inappropriate and offensive" gesture to an African-American student, the East Side Unified High School District reported. The incident occured at the school's weight room on April 30th.

The student said his football coach and PE teacher wrapped the rope around his own neck to mimic a hanging and made an offensive remark. Sources close to the investigation said the teacher meant it as a joke. But as community activist Tiye Garrett tells KPIX 5 the student didn't take it in that way. 

"The student obviously did not find it funny and he told the teacher. And the teacher tried to hug him and he just kind of brushed him off and said like, ‘No, please don’t touch me,'" said Garett. "He just made an offensive gesture to him. Why try to hug him?"

The school district received a report of the allegations on May 1.  After an investigation that confirmed the allegations, the district notified the student's family.

"I am deeply disturbed and troubled by the allegations and the investigation findings," school district Superintendent Chris Funk said in a statement. Funk said the district would "redouble" efforts to prevent discrimination and harassment from school campuses.

The school district did not identify the teacher or provide further details about what happened. Officials from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office are currently reviewing the case.

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