Kathleen Pyles, Connecticut Middle School Teacher, Allegedly Made Racist Comment, Called Student 'Black Boy'

06/08/2012 10:53 am ET | Updated Jun 10, 2012

Kathleen Pyles, a math teacher at North End Middle School in Waterbury, Conn., is on paid leave while school officials investigate allegations that she addressed a black student with a racist remark.

Parents and the NAACP spoke out during a Board of Education meeting Thursday, accusing Pyles of inappropriately calling a student "black boy" when she couldn't remember his name, WFSB reports.

Officials told the Waterbury Republican-American that Pyles called the boy by the wrong name, and when the student pointed out the mistake, Pyles responded, "How about black boy? Go sit down, black boy."

The incident allegedly occurred in May, and surfaced when another child reported it to his mother, who then took the issue to the school, according to NECN.

"I couldn't believe it, it was shocking to hear a professional like that, say something like that in a room full of students," former NAACP President Jimmie Griffin told WTNH. "I couldn't believe it."

A number of parents are shocked and outraged, and are calling for Pyles' dismissal. Waterbury Public Schools COO Paul Guidone tells WFSB that "appropriate action" will be taken if the investigation finds that the allegations against the teacher are true.

"We wish to assure parents that we take this allegation very seriously," Guidone said. "We do not tolerate or condone the claimed behavior from our staff."

The alleged incident in Waterbury is just one of several reports of racial insensitivity among the nation's teachers.

In March, a Virginia high school English teacher allegedly asked the only black student in the class to read a poem in a "blacker" manner.

Jordan Shumate, a ninth-grader at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., says he was reading aloud Langston Hughes' "Ballad of the Landlord" when teacher Marilyn Bart interrupted him.

In Georgia, parents of Beaver Ridge Elementary School expressed outrage at the school district's response to reports of slavery being used as examples in math word problems -- which included references to violence and abuse.

One question read, "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?"

A teacher responsible for the assignment has since resigned.

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