Fairfax County Student Told To Read Poem 'Blacker' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Fairfax County Student Told To Read Poem 'Blacker'

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Travis Ekmark: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sayholatotravis/3796435103/

An investigation is underway at George C. Marshall High School, after a Fairfax County mom says her son was allegedly asked to speak "blacker" by a teacher during what the mother said was a lesson on stereotypes.

Nicole Page says it all started when an English teacher asked her son to read a Langston Hughes poem aloud.

Her ninth grade freshman son, Jordan Shumate, is the only African-American in the class. Page says when her son stopped and said he was uncomfortable with the dialogue, the teacher stepped in.

"She interrupted me after I finished the first stanza, and told me to read it 'blacker,'" recounts Jordan. "She said, 'Blacker, Jordan. Come on, I thought you were black.'"

And Page says this isn't the first incident of the teacher's cultural insensitivity, as reported by her son. She says there was a poem by Tupac Shakur that she wanted him to rap out.

For her part, Page says she is shocked: "Very sad, a mourning for my child's loss of innocence that he would have to experience something like this."

"The Marshall High School administrators are taking the accusations seriously and they are pursing the investigation vigorously," says Jon Torre, spokesman for Fairfax County Public Schools.

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