A middle school teacher in California forgot to end a Zoom call before going on a 30-minute racist rant, a parent said. Back in January, Katura Stokes’ 12-year-old son was in a virtual tutoring session with his science teacher, Kimberly Newman, to receive extra support as he adjusted to online learning. Stokes said Newman forgot to end the call before she started bashing the family in a racist rant. “She’s answered her phone for the first time the entire year,” the white middle school teacher allegedly said in the recording obtained by The Washington Post. “I mean these parents, that’s what kind of piece of s--- they are.” “The family is a piece of s---, they are Black, they are Black,” Newman allegedly said before calling Stokes and her child lazy. “Your son has learned to lie to everybody and make excuses. ...Since you’ve taught him to make excuses that nothing is his fault. This is what Black people do,” Newman continued. Newman was still making racist remarks when Stokes says she called the principal and told him what was happening in the moment. Newman finally left the Zoom after someone at the school called and asked if she had made remarks about Stokes and the student. Stokes’ claims Newman denied it.
After Stokes’ report of the incident, Newman reportedly resigned. According to Palmdale School District spokesperson David Garcia, school officials couldn’t launch an investigation because Newman wouldn’t cooperate and resigned right after she got called in for a meeting with district officials. The school says they reached out and offered counseling to the family, which was reportedly declined.
The outlet reported that Stokes recently filed a claim against the school district, which is the first step toward a lawsuit under California law.
“They are so disappointed and in disbelief over the fact that this is still happening in this day and age,” Neil Gehlawat, an attorney representing the family told The Post. “Ms. Stokes was asking for help and in response, she gets a racist rant and unbeknown to her, her son is listening to a lot of it. There’s this teacher that he looked up to saying these awful things. It’s just so hurtful and difficult for him to process.”
Gehlawat says Stokes is worried about other teachers at the school having “similar feelings towards them, maybe not to the same level as the science teacher who said these things but on some level,” he said.
The attorney said the 12-year-old will remain in the virtual classroom at least through the end of the school year.