FAIRFIELD, Ohio – An Ohio high school teacher could lose his job after he allegedly told a black student who said he’d like to become president that “we don’t need another black president.”
The incident involving science teacher Gil Voigt allegedly occurred Dec. 3 at Fairfield Freshman School, and afterward the young black student went home and told his mother what happened. The mother complained to school officials and Assistant Superintendent Roger Martin interviewed students and conducted a disciplinary hearing, Cincinnati.comreports.
Several students who were present during the incident confirmed what Voigt said, according to Martin.
“This is a rare occurrence. This is the first time I’ve faced it since being named superintendent (in 2011),” Martin told the news site of the racist remarks.
It isn’t, however, the first time Voigt has been accused of running his mouth. In 2008, he received a verbal warning for an inappropriate racial comment. He was reprimanded again later in 2008, 2012, and last month for improper use of school technology, calling a student ‘stupid,’ and failing to use the adopted curriculum, respectively, according to the news site.
School officials charged Voigt with violating board policies on staff ethics, student-staff relations and harassment, and suspended him without pay Monday. He could be fired, Cincinnati.com reports.
Voigt, who has taught in the district since 2000, contends he was misquoted by the student, according to a report cited by the news site.
What’s interesting is it took five different problems with Voigt before school officials took his bad behavior seriously. It’s likely that union job protections discouraged school officials from terminating the teacher earlier, as it would probably cost the district substantial legal fees and time to fight his termination for the less serious offenses.
Telling a black student “we don’t need another black president,” however, should be offensive enough to convince school leaders to finally purge Voigt from their payroll.
Voigt has about a week left to request a hearing before the school board or a referee on his “black president” remarks. He didn’t show up to the meeting in which school officials charged him with violating board policies.