Teacher Resigns After Racist Rant About Black Families Caught On Zoom Call

by Julie Scagell
Orange County Register/Youtube

The teacher resigned before an investigation could begin

After a Zoom call with a student and his mother, a California teacher went on a 30-minute tirade laced with racist comments, profanity, and insults not knowing her Zoom call was still playing audio.

Katura Stokes’s 12-year-old son had been struggling with distance learning, so his mother scheduled a Zoom call with his white science teacher, Kimberly Newman, who apparently forgot to end the call after the meeting. It was then, talking to someone in the background, she went on for nearly 30 minutes, calling the parents “pieces of shit” and saying, “this is what Black people do,” according to Stoke’s attorneys.

On Thursday, she filed a claim against the school that seeks monetary damages for negligence, defamation, and civil rights violations, The Washington Post reported.

The call is disturbing.

“These parents are such fucking liars,” Newman also said on the video, which was recorded by Stokes, accusing Stokes of making up excuses and not being available to the school when they reached out in the past. “I mean these parents — that’s what kind of pieces of shit they are. Black. She’s Black. They’re a Black family,” she said. “Your son has learned to lie to everybody and make excuses.”

She went on: “To be entitled, because you taught him to make excuses that nothing is his fault,” Newman said. “This is what Black people do. This is what Black people do. White people do it too but Black people do it way more.”

The teacher quit before she had to answer for her actions.

When the teacher was confronted about recording and put on administrative leave, she “made a statement that they’d rather resign than go through this and marched out the door,” David Garcia, spokesperson for the Palmdale School District, told CNN. Two days later, she submitted her resignation. What was that she said about not taking accountability and making excuses?

“This is heinous,” Garcia said. “This a hideous event and the Palmdale School District will not stomach any racial behavior, whether it’s caught on tape or not.”

“It’s unthinkable that an educator would mock and belittle this family, and there is no doubt that this incident has scarred them,” John C. Taylor, one of Stokes’ attorneys, said. “All children are entitled to receive an educational experience free of discrimination and this video has demonstrated what minority students often face behind the scenes today.”

Because the teacher resigned, there is little that can be done to her. “Our investigation is limited in that the teacher is no longer with the district, so as you can imagine her cooperation is nonexistent,” Garcia said. “With her not at the district, we have no recourse at this point.”

For her and her son to have to listen to racially-motivated slander while trying to get a teacher’s help is abhorrent. “Ms. Stokes and her son have been permanently scarred as a result of Mrs. Newman’s comments,” their claim stated.