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RCSD Substitute Paraprofessional Fired for Racist Posts on Facebook

By Staff

 

rcsdA substitute paraprofessional working for the Rochester City School District was fired Nov. 28, after allegedly posting racist comments on Facebook.

Reportedly, Cassandra Sutton made comments referring to an African-American male, and other African Americans, using the “N-word” on the social media website.

Sutton had been working as a substitute paraprofessional at the Children’s School of Rochester No 15, in a pre-kindergarten class.

Following the termination of her employment, RCSD issued the following statement, in part, regarding the matter:

“Comments like the ones posted are unacceptable, and will not be tolerated by anyone who works with district students.”

Sutton had been employed by TES staffing; however, the company reportedly has decided to terminate her employment.

RCSD School Board President Van White and Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams also issued the following letter to district staff following Sutton’s dismissal, below:

Dear Colleagues,

This morning we had a reminder that placing a high value on equity for our students requires us on occasion to confront racism in our District.

Overnight, we were made aware of racist posts on Facebook made by a person who was said to be a District employee. A brief investigation early this morning determined that the person who posted these offensive comments was employed by TES Staffing, working in substitute roles at Lincoln Park School No. 44 last year and Children’s School of Rochester No. 15 this year. The District informed TES that this person should not report today and will not be allowed to work in any District school in the future, effective immediately.

We want to thank the many people who brought this matter to light quickly and enabled the District to take immediate action. Comments like the ones posted last night are unacceptable and will not be tolerated by anyone who works in Rochester schools. If we are to achieve equity for all students, we must celebrate diversity, acknowledge differences respectfully and call out racism when it appears as it did today.

Last week, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Mayor Lovely Warren and numerous community leaders joined in a call for unity to stand up for the rights and dignity of all people. A letter describing that event encouraged staff members to embrace the teachable moment that history presents us, guiding discussions about diverse ideologies in a respectful, inclusive and kind manner. The sentiments expressed by this former temporary employee were a rude reminder that our District is not immune to acts of prejudice and hate—the very types of acts that last [UTF-8?]week’s unity event called on our community to address.

We believe it is important to make clear that racial intolerance cannot and will not be accepted in our schools.

Sincerely,

The Hon. Van Henri White                                                     Barbara Deane-Williams

President, Rochester Board of Education                              Superintendent of Schools

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