PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Methacton School District officials are investigating how a racial slur was typed more than a dozen times in the chat of a seventh-grade classroom.
On Wednesday, as Mark Benjamin was going to make lunch for his daughter, a seventh-grader at Arcola Intermediate School in Eagleville, she asked him to look at her screen.
“She said, ‘Dad come look at this.’ And she showed it to me. It was just the N-word a bunch of times throughout the whole chat,” he said.
The word was typed at least 18 times in a row.
School officials are still investigating, so it’s unknown if the messages were sent from another student or a hacker.
Benjamin immediately emailed school officials, who told him they’ll investigate and determine the next step.
But he believes the district should have made it more clear to him that the incident was unacceptable, and that they’ll take steps to prevent it from happening again.
“What I wanted from the principal was something for me to take back to my child to ensure as an African-American girl in the school — one of three in the class — that she matters and people who look like her matter, and that the school has their back,” he said. “I feel that I did not get that.”
Methacton Superintendent David Zerbe said racism and hateful messages have no place in its schools. He encourages students to reach out to counselors if they need to talk about what happened. He also said they’re trying to foster inclusive attitudes and behaviors through its office of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Benjamin realizes it could have been some sort of hack and not someone in the class, but either way, someone intentionally used the N-word repeatedly.
His message to the sender: There’s no room for hate.
“We have to preach love,” Benjamin said. “Love covers a multitude of sins. You may not like me, or the person next to you, but if you love them, you can get along with each other.”