Parents of Penns Grove, N.J., are raising major concerns about an ongoing battle regarding a science teacher who allegedly used racist language in his seventh-grade classroom.
The middle school teacher, Bruce Bassetti, is accused of whispering the N-word under his breath in regards to an African-American student during class. Bassetti denies all accusations against him and has yet to lose his job, although CBS Philly reports he is currently on administrative leave.
The parents of the students of Penns Grove Middle School are angry that Bassetti has yet to be fired and continue to fight against school administrators about the decision. Against the parents' wishes, the school district is unable to fire Bassetti based on accusations alone. That being said, the school administration says they're trying to have him removed from his position as soon as possible.
At the Penns Grove-Carney's Point Regional School District board meeting on Monday, the topic didn't sit well with parents who are beyond angered the man is still allowed to even teach at all. In the tense meeting, parents repeatedly asked what the board is going to do if Bassetti is allowed to return.
"The board collectively stands by the position to fight and seek to vacate [the] appalling and offensive decision," says the school board president, Vicki Smith. "[The language] is toxic, intolerable and has no place in our district," she continues.
A state arbitrator says that Bassetti should indeed keep his job, a decision that has Bassetti's reputation and career still hanging by a thread. Against the arbitrator's decision, the school board says they will take the issue to a superior court because it is not something that can just be overlooked.
NAACP president of Salem County, Nelson Carney Jr., is happy that the school board is willing to fight for what is best for the students. "As long as they continue to do what they're supposed to do, everything is going to be good," he says.
Although the school board is prepared to fight, a lot of parents are losing patience. "It's time for you to get up out that office and start dealing with the issues in the school board," one parent, Walter Hudson, says at the board meeting. Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Zenaida Cobain, assures Hudson and the rest of the parents that the students are their number one priority and they will make this right.
CBS Philly says that the process may be a long one in terms of taking the issue to a superior court but parents can be assured that Bassetti will be out of the classroom until a decision is made.