Bowsher HS teacher suspended for racial remark - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Bowsher HS teacher suspended for racial remark

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A Toledo Public Schools teacher has been suspended for one day without pay for making a racially insensitive comment to two students.

The 39-year-old is a social studies teacher at Bowsher High School. The students are an interracial couple, a white girl and a black boy.

13abc obtained the documents about the discipline of Bowsher High School teacher Crystal Franks.

It says Franks, who is white, told the students, "You two have jungle fever."

Franks went on to tell a hearing officer, "Someone said, ‘Oh, that is racial!'  I said no; apparently you have not seen the movie then."

In the TPS documents, the hearing officer explains the movie being referenced is Spike Lee's 1991 film "Jungle Fever."

The hearing officer notes, "Jungle fever is a term used to refer to the various tropical diseases, such as Malaria.  But it has also been adopted as a racist term used to describe the attraction between those in interracial relationships."

The hearing officer goes on to say that claims by Franks that the remark was, "taken out of context and had no derogatory meaning is neither plausible nor believable."

"This is a very sensitive issue," says TPS Assistant Superintendent Brian Murphy.

TPS leaders suspended Franks for one day without pay, saying she used an inappropriate racial slur.

"Behavior such as this will not be tolerated and it goes against the values of the district," says Murphy.

"Oh, she's a fun teacher," says Bowsher High School senior Miquan Richardson.

Richardson has taken Frank's class and says she never should've been disciplined.  He says this has gone too far.

"I don't think it was that big of a problem," says Richardson. "I think she has her rights of freedom of speech. She was just joking around."

We were unable to reach Franks for comment.

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