Christian Teachers Claim They Unintentionally Spelled Out Racial Slur

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A group of Christian school teachers stood together for a photo, each holding individual letters. However, when a black parent accused them of spelling out a racial slur, the teachers insisted that they were trying to spell something completely different.

A Missouri school district is in hot water after five teachers were accused of racism. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Any good teacher knows that having fun is the best way to open a child up to learning. In fact, turning a lesson into a game is one of the most effective methods of helping students understand and retain information. Unfortunately, one harmless game quickly devolved into a major scandal for a Missouri school district.

While playing a life-size game of Scrabble, a group of teachers from the Christian School District in St. Charles decided to pose with their letter tiles, spelling out a message. Disturbingly, the word has a double-meaning, landing the teachers under threat of losing their jobs.

Christian school teachers
The teachers held up Scrabble tiles spelling out the word “coons,” which is considered a racial epithet toward black people. (Photo Credit: Twitter)

The five women, who remain unnamed, held letters spelling out the word “coons,” KSDK reports. The photo, which was later uploaded to social media, soon caused an uproar as some realized that the phrase could easily be taken as a racial epithet intended toward black people.

“I’m angry, I’m hurt because I trust you with my child,” said one parent with a child in the Christian School District.

However, the teachers claim that they had no intention of insulting anyone. In fact, they say that they had no idea the word was even considered a racial slur. According to the women, they were trying to spell “raccoons” but opted for the shortened term because they couldn’t find anyone with the missing letters.

The teachers say they were trying to spell “raccoons” but opted for the shortened term, which is used by many Midwesterners. (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

However, some weren’t buying the teachers’ explanation. A local black preacher, who is also the parent of two sons in the district, has accused the women of racism, refusing to believe that they didn’t know about the dark history of the word. Another parent says her son came to her to take action against the school.

“They were running around trying to spell raccoon, but they didn’t have the R and the A,” said Pastor Raymond Horry who has two children enrolled in the district. “I don’t believe it that five Caucasian teachers, not one of them knew that. Maybe one didn’t know it, maybe two didn’t know it, but all 5 didn’t know it?”

“He absolutely told me, ‘Mom, I’m tired of it, do what you need to do because this is not fair and I’m tired of feeling like this,'” said one parent quoting her conversation with her teenage son.

The district immediately took action, placing the teachers under investigation to determine the appropriate disciplinary actions. They issued an apology, which those who were outraged rejected, calling it “a blanket statement.”

“We recognize that this ill-informed action caused hurt and offense to many students and families in our school and in the wider community. We offer no excuse as to why this word was used. In a statement to families last night, we apologized for the incident and sought their forgiveness. We also ask that of anyone who has been impacted by this picture.”

Christian school teachers
Local preacher Raymond Horry accused the teachers of malicious intent, rejecting the claim that they didn’t know the word was a racial slur. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

The etymology of the word “coon” stems from explorer John Smith’s attempt at spelling the Algonquian/Powhatan word for the mammal. “Raccoon” was the final spelling for the homonym the Natives used, which translated to “he scratches with the hands,” in reference to the humanlike way raccoons use their front paws.

As such, dozens of cities and landmarks around the U.S. contain the word “coon” in their names in honor of the local wildlife. For example, the cities of Coon Rapids in both Minnesota and Iowa were named as such because landowners there hunted raccoons for their hides. Of course, the word later became a racial slur against black people but is still commonly used by Midwesterners and Southerners as an informal name for the animal.

The district apologized to those who were offended and opened up an internal investigation. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

We may never know if the teachers knew that the word is sometimes used as a racial epithet, but logic presumes that five white Christian educators wouldn’t haphazardly risk their careers and reputations to giggle over a slur. In the current cancel culture, it’s a death sentence to say anything offensive to protected minorities, especially in the education system.

We are so comfortable, privileged, and free in America that we must dig deep for the smallest discrepancies in order to find something that offends us. There is power in victimhood, and the cost is attributing maliciousness to one’s neighbors who may or may not have been intentional in their offense. It is a losing battle, and no one is safe from being canceled.