Teacher Faces Suspension for Taunting ‘Little Chocolate Boy’

February 7, 2012  |  

“Little chocolate boy” may sound like a term of endearment for a brown-skinned kid, but when you follow that up with “chocolate that nobody wanted,” you know there’s a problem.

Leslie Rainer, a Blanche Ely High School teacher in South Florida, is facing suspension for making comments like those to a Haitian-American boy in her class, and according to a complaint filed with the school district, the words are typical for her.

“[Rainer] has had a history of inappropriate conduct towards her part-Haitian, minority descent students,” the complaint notes. “Respondent made a statement to a student that, ‘I wish they would put you in a boat and send you back where you came from.’ ”

The complaint also states Rainer once told a student to stand in the corner near a garbage can because “that’s where he belongs,” and the taunted student claims that he caught some of her comments on a cellphone video camera.

Two years ago, Rainer and another teacher were accused of of pretending to sprinkle an atheist colleague with “holy water” in front of students. Both teachers were initially removed from their positions but a couple of years later they were cleared of any wrongdoing and allowed to return to the classroom.

Regarding her current case, Rainer doesn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing.

“There’s nothing negative about chocolate,’ she told WPLG-TV in Miami. “We were discussing the different chocolates and how the kids don’t like dark chocolates so that’s when the comment was made.”

We’ll see if the Broward County School Board buys that. Today they’re scheduled to vote on a recommendation to suspend Rainer for three days without pay but that seems like a pretty mild punishment for her behavior. I’m curious why they don’t notice the pattern of behavior and get rid of her.

Do you think a three-day suspension without pay is appropriate?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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