FALLS CHURCH, Va. (CBSDC) — A teacher at George C. Marshall High School reportedly asked a student to read a Langston Hughes poem “blacker” as he recited it for his freshman English class.
14-year-old Jordan Shumate was stunned when the longtime teacher at the Falls Church school made that request as he read “Ballad of the Landlord” recently.
“At the very least, it’s very very unprofessional,” the student told All News 99.1 WNEW.
Shumate is the only African American student in the class.
“She didn’t say it to any of the students in class,” he added.
According to Shumate, the teacher, identified as Marilyn Bart, also asked him to explain to the class why African American people like grape soda and rap music.
Bart reportedly had already put in her retirement papers prior to the incident.
“We’re in 2012 with the first African American president,” Nicole Page, the boy’s mother said. “In this era how could such a statement be made, particularly by an English teacher.”
Administrators immediately launched an investigation into the alleged incident after Page notified the school’s principal, Jay Pearson, on Wednesday.
Pearson also met the parents of the student on Friday according to a school official with knowledge of the investigation.
School officials said they are taking the allegations seriously and are vigorously investigating Shumate’s claims.
A phone message left for Mrs. Bart was not immediately returned.
UPDATE: The school placed Bart on paid administrative leave.