Three teachers at a charter high school in Rhode Island have resigned after their private messages leaked and revealed multiple “deeply disturbing” insults about students.
Via the Washington Post, the messages were the result of a Slack leak at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy, in Cumberland, Rhode Island. School officials believe a hacker got into a teacher’s email account and sent a Google Doc of private messages from Slack—the app many organizations including Gawker Media use for workflow—to the school network on Monday.
Names of the teachers who resigned have not been disclosed. Other staff members have been suspended amid an ongoing investigation. Among the messages exposed was a negative remark from one teacher to another about 16-year-old student Hudson Deighan:
“Here’s how Hudson spelled Ta-Nehisi Coates: Tonahese quotes,” a teacher wrote in one chat.
“f—— idiot,” another responded.
“When I saw my name I just started crying. I thought I was straightforward with him and he’d be straightforward with me. But I guess he just doesn’t like me, and I guess none of the teachers like me at all,” Deighan told the Providence Journal. “I was building confidence, slowly and surely, but now they’ve wrecked that with a few messages.”
The Washington Post reports that another teacher slammed the mother of one student, writing: “I CANNOT WITH HER I HOPE HER STUPID SON FAILS ALL HIS CLASSES.” One teacher wrote: “Man I wish we could hit them,” to which another replied, “Move to Arizona. Though really no school districts allow, by state law you are allowed to. Start your own charter and commence with the flogging.”
The school’s executive director Jeremy Chiappetta condemned the messages in a statement posted online:
“I want to be crystal clear, many of the comments written are deeply disturbing and offensive. As the founding school leader, executive director of the organization, and parent of three scholars in the program, I am deeply saddened and disappointed. Parents put their trust in teachers and the school, and that trust has been violated.”
Deighan’s father Scout told the Post his daughter “kept telling us that lots of students were having problems with the teachers. And we kept saying ‘no no no, it can’t be as bad as you’re saying.’”
“You can blow off steam, but that’s different from just slamming teenagers for struggling,” says Scout. “You can see, they called my daughter a f—— idiot for not being able to spell Ta-Nehisi Coates. That’s not blowing off steam. That’s a level of aggression and dismissiveness that should not be anywhere near the educational system.”
Screenshot via blackstonevalleyprep.org