WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A middle school teacher in West Hartford is accused of using a racial slur in front of students, prompting school leaders to investigate.

School officials said that the teacher at Sedgwick Middle School has been removed from the classroom pending an investigation.

“The district has received a complaint that a racial slur was used by an adult in a classroom in the presence of students,” said Superintendent of Schools Paul Vicinus. “I want to make it unequivocally clear that derogatory language, racial slurs, and hate speech have no place in our schools and work against our mission to develop a sense of community and belonging.”

Many parents News 8 spoke with Friday called it appalling and disheartening. One mother declined to give her name but said she was concerned.  

“My husband and I did discuss it,” she said. “We are trying to process it. We would like the facts before we make an opinion. And the fact that this is 2023, I would really hope that she wouldn’t actually, directly call him that word.”  

  • Letter from West Hartford Public Schools' Superintendent Paul Vicinus
  • Letter from Sedgwick Middle School Principal Juan Melian

Julie Kowalczyk, a mother of twins in the seventh grade, said she appreciated the district taking swift action and feels confident the issue will be addressed. 

“I feel very surprised because I know this is a diverse district that does a wonderful job of inclusion with the children,” Kowalczyk said. 

There is no place for racism in school or society, she added.

“My children are biracial, so I understand that those [racist] beliefs are out there,” Kowalczyk said. “So, I’m surprised but not surprised on a macro level.” 

School leaders have not confirmed the teacher’s identity to News 8.  

The district said the investigation may result in the suspension and or termination of the teacher.