Cheltenham suspends teacher over 'racially insensitive and discriminatory remarks'

A Cheltenham High School math teacher who the district said made "racially insensitive and discriminatory remarks" to several students after the presidential election has been suspended, according to a statement from the school board.

The teacher was discussing the election and the impact of a Trump presidency on the Black Lives Matter movement when she allegedly told students "to stop bitching about being black," according to Meleah Jennine Brame and other parents who met with Superintendent Wagner Marseille after the incident.

One student allegedly left the classroom in tears, and others reported the comment to school administrators.

The district did not name the teacher and declined to provide any other information on the suspension because it was a personnel matter. However, parents identified her as Stacie Stoops. Reached at her home, a man who said he was her husband told a reporter that she did not want to discuss the situation.

According to the board statement, members heard from many families, students, and staff members who wanted the district to take action to "eliminate a climate where anyone would mistakenly believe that hate or intimidating language is in any way acceptable."

The board said the district has provided students with counseling and a safe space in which to discuss their concerns about intimidation in the high school. It plans to offer opportunities for parents to discuss the issue, and will provide updates on these and other activities related to maintaining a hate-free environment on a quarterly basis.

The board also encouraged students who felt they had been targeted for intimidation or a negative comment to report it immediately to the principal.

"I'm definitely glad to see that nothing is being swept under the rug," said Brame, a member of the Cheltenham African American Alliance. "I had confidence in Dr. Marseille when we initially met with him."

Calls to the Cheltenham Educators' Association, the union representing district teachers, were not immediately returned.

kboccella@phillynews.com

610-313-8232

@Kathy_Boccella

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