Poulsbo elementary principal on paid leave after using n-word

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poulsboElementaryPOULSBO — A Kitsap County principal has been pulled from her job for using the n-word in front of elementary school students.

The principal at Poulsbo Elementary School was addressing a 5th grade class during a Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.  She was discussing the differences and nuances between the word Negro and the n-word. She is said to have used the actual n-word several times. One of the 5th grade students was upset.  He went home and told his mom and she filed a complaint.

Poulsbo Elementary, part of the North Kitsap School District, is without its leader and the surrounding community is just finding out why.

“The n-word was used and that is what eventually led to us doing a non-disciplinary paid leave to be able to have an investigation,” North Kitsap Schools Superintendent Patrice Page said.

Page said the boy first took offense when his teacher used the word Negro.

Principal Claudia Alves was asked to step in and help provide historical context, in what some would call a teachable moment.

The n-word was used and, Page said, more students got upset.

Although she says there is no written policy in the district banning the use of any word, she believes, in this case there shouldn’t need to be such a rule.

“We live in a society that has norms and acceptableness,” Page said. “I believe that principals and teachers have a normed reference in that and know what is socially acceptable and what’s not.”

“I didn’t think she intentionally tried to hurt anyone or say it in the wrong way,” Alves’ neighbor Corey McMillian.

Corey McMillian lives next door to Alves and calls her a friend. He believes the word was taken out of context and blown out of proportion.

No one else would go on camera, but everyone we talked to in Poulsbo feels as he does.

“Personally I not offended by it,” McMillian said. “I think that she was trying to do something that she felt was right to explain something to her student and I’m her neighbor and we like her a lot.  She’s invited me into her house and we’ve invited her into our house as well.”

Now the district has hired an outside investigator to come in and determine exactly what happened. Until that investigation is complete the Principal will remain on paid administrative leave.

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  • Guest

    Society full of wimps and hyper politcal correctness. These kids can just go on youtube and watch any rap video and hear it over and over again. I never use that word but just the fact people are so sensitive about it is making me want to start using it.

    • Jason

      Yes! I would not say it but I feel the same way, when even just functioning normally gets you into this type of hot water we want to do the thing which is being radically addressed against with super aggression

      That is a normal human reaction to this kind of paranoid persecution to try to fight for freedom and a NON PARANOID ATMOSPHERE, of course we don't go with our lower temptations to do the thing which is being over persecuted against rather we educate the incorrect and paranoid lest we find ourselves to blame.

      When so many others feel she was not in the wrong why cannot she at least be innocent until proven guilty, its not like this was a big deal that has outraged the community, contrary to that the entire community is standing behind her.

      The young man who made such a big deal about it was just doing as he was programed to do , never really understanding the real nature of what she was saying, to the point she felt the need to verbalize to 2 versions of the word so he could hear the difference and then explain the correct use or at least the correct use of the word in the past as a simple description of race.

      Its a problem for me that the young man had never been taught that because I know this is because everybody around him has to live in fear for the exact wording they use to the point it was never taught to him.

      Yes she could have been more aware of today's AWFUL climate were you can and will be dragged away from your career for doing what they pay you to do and that is teach if teaching means treading on the establishments super hard to follow and still function in life guidelines.

      The young man who was so offended and so fell into the offense pit whom now is on the news sounds more self righteous than ever and so many don't seem to see that, and could not if I were to pay them 1 million dollars to identify any form of self righteousness lower than an extreme example that was obvious.

      Yes he sounds really "oh look at me I'm a victim" and is telling his ideas of humanity and goodness as if this woman broke the spirit of any of that humanity or goodness, no she did not rather this young man did what he was programed to do and that is look for any reason to persecute your neighbor the very min you don't understand them if what you don't understand seems like it could be some form of racism and now we have a whole new problem in society that inflicts great harm on our community and that is political correctness.

  • Larry Dibble

    Lets put the kids in a bubble until they graduate… that will help them in the REAL world… don't get me wrong I do not feel the N word should be used as for what it was designed for but to educate kids of the HISTORY of our country especially on MLK day seem like a proper time… Power Whining, will it never stop?

    • Matt

      The media basically said "she said the N word, but didn't say 'N word', she actually said the word….you know, the one that starts with N and you can't say b/c the world will explode if you do, even if you are just saying it because it makes the story more understandable".
      We are a nation of wussies. If you teach 1950s-1960s history and sugar coat it, you're a racist b/c you didn't show how horrible whites were to blacks….But if you actually teach what happened, you're racist for talking about lynchings and the use of bad words.

  • My View

    No one was called that! I believe it was used appropriately to describe the differences between the two words. An why the hell is saying "N-word" any different than using the actual word.

  • Russell

    Seriously? The person who needs to be investigated is the superintendent of this school district who isn't able to tell the difference between the use of the word as a derogatory statement and the use of the word as part of an educational experience. It's also well beyond time to teach 5th graders that not every use of a word generally regarded as offensive is, in fact, offensive. At this rate, in 100 years, teachers will be saying "The "n"-word is offensive but no one will actually know what the word it refers to actually was.

  • Terrie vining

    How much of my tax money is being wasted on a paid leave?

    And will "Huck Finn" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" also be banned?

  • mayhem4u

    Wake up people!! The principal was trying to explain the differences between the correct and formal term for a race and the derogatory racial slur. It was an educational moment, not a racist one.

    Congratulations to the the African-American parents; you got the whitey principal!! She'll probably be fired. Hope you're happy! Judging you by your character (not the color of your skin), ya'll suck!

  • irishmanknowsall

    I started my 8th grade Social studies class every August with a full week of discussion about bullying and hurtful words. I wrote all the words we really don't like in our society, up on the board, including the N word, and hateful, hurtful words describing Hispanics, and Whites, and Asians, and Native Americans. The kids discussed their usage, and among themselves, figured out why they can be hurtful. Never had a legal guardian complain. The goal was to get them to start becoming aware of each other and their community at large. Remove the suspicion and the mis-understandings, and start talking to each other with more respect. Beats preaching, which they don't respond to at all. Suspending this principal seems to me to be an overboard response. The little boy who was offended at the word Negro should be allowed to tell his classmates why. It would spark a healthy discussion. Goodness. What are we afraid of?

  • Neutral man

    I'm assuming this person was white. What a bunch of crybabies. Learning about history is a good thing. If a single word upsets you that much, you must be lacking in character.

  • Guest

    The children were reading the script of an MLK play for an assembly. They were concerned when they saw one word, so they asked the teacher. The principal was in the classroom at the time, so the teacher deferred to the principal to explain the differences in the two words, as they sound similar and both start with "n". She explained it with an explanation that appeared no one has taken exception to. Exception was taken because she actually voiced both words in the explanation. She then voiced it again when a student in the class was sent to the principal's office for another reason (they are WELL acquainted) and apparently they had a further discussion at that time. Again, no one is objecting to her explanation, only that she voiced the words that she was explaining.

  • DaddySNATCH

    them blacks never cease to amaze… and people wonder why no one wants to become a teacher. if it isn't some black kid giving you a hug without your permission, or another black kid jumping a teacher for no reason, now you have something like this. it's been over 150 years, time for you to stop whining and start doing something.

  • proletarian

    After reading the comments I was worried that I had mistakenly linked into an Aryan Brotherhood website. Stay classy Poulsbo.

  • tesla

    The average 5th grader is at the stage of development where they are hearing words that they assume could be wrong, but don't know. They should be able to ask a trusted adult what those words mean and why they have negative meanings without being punished. I applaud this educator for taking the time to actually explain the words and educate our children in why they shouldn't be used. In this case it sounds like the children had a problem because they had heard the phrase "n-word" without really knowing what the '"n-word" was. There are many words that begin with "n", and "negro" is indeed one of them. I can understand their confusion. My son was confused as a child because he believed that the "s-word" was "stupid". In correcting his misbelief I had to say both "s-words", just like this educator had to say both "n-words".

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  • amina

    wow, this is ridiculous. Who are these kids parents she was trying to teach them the difference. If the parents had been teaching them history at home then would not even have been issue. I can't believe they are even making a big deal out this.

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