Naiya Galloway, a 31-year-old former teacher's aide at Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque, Iowa, was fired for allegedly telling students the novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is racist, the Indianapolis Star reports.
According to the paper, school officials claim Galloway told students the Mark Twain novel was racially insensitive and should not be taught in schools. She also allegedly suggested to a student that a math teacher at the school was racist.
Administrative law judge James Timberland said Galloway's behavior became disruptive at the school, which specializes in teaching students with mental health issues or behavioral problems.
"Rather than working to minimize students' behavior issues so that they could learn in an appropriate environment, Ms. Galloway fed into the students' behavior issues and disrupted the educational process," Timberland said, according to United Press International.
At an unemployment benefits hearing, Galloway -- who is African American and Japanese -- denied allegations that she protested the teaching of the book. She did agree, however, that she disrupted a class discussion when mention of the Ku Klux Klan gave her "flashbacks" to personal experiences with racism .
Last year, a new edition of the "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" was released in which the N-word was replaced with "slave" in an effort to be less controversial.
Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben told the Associated Press the N-word appears 219 times in "Huck Finn" and that its presence puts the book in danger of becomming the kind of book Twain famously defined as those "which people praise and don't read."
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