POULSBO, Wash. — Poulsbo Elementary School principal Claudia Alves is on leave while the district investigates a complaint that she used the N-word to explain the difference between it and the word ‘Negro’ to students, the Kitsap Sun reported Thursday.
Superintendent Patty Page sent a letter home to parents telling them that Alves took a leave of absence Wednesday while there is an investigation into “a situation that occurred recently,” the Sun said. Page said in an email it was not considered a disciplinary action.
The Sun reported that Shawna Smith, mother of a Poulsbo fifth-grader, said the incident arose when students in her son’s class were uncomfortable with using the word “Negro” in a play they were rehearsing about Martin Luther King Jr. Alves was in the room and explained the difference between the word “Negro” and the N-word, but that several children were still troubled by the use of the word “Negro.”
Smith told the Sun that later, after her son acted up during one of the play’s performances, he was sent to Alves’ office, where they discussed the word again. Her son explained that he still was uncomfortable with the word “Negro,” to which Alves told him it was not the same as the N-word, only she used the actual word, Smith said.
Page said it is not acceptable for a district employee to use the N-word in explaining its meaning.
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