By SUSANNAH CULLINANE and ANDI BABINEAU
Karmello Luellen, a Black middle school student told CNN he was angry when his teacher, a White man, told his class that his race “is the superior one.”
Videos of the conversation in a Pflugerville, Texas, classroom were posted on social media last week. The teacher seen in the video has been fired, according to Pflugerville Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Douglas Killian.
Luellen was in the class and told CNN’s Laura Coates Tuesday night that the teacher made the remarks about race after he asked to use the restroom.
“It started off because I asked him about going to the restroom and he told me no because he was racist. And then I asked him, ‘What do you mean by that?’“ Karmello said. “That’s when it started and he started talking about it.”
In one video posted online, the teacher can be seen saying to his multi-racial class, “Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one,” as students audibly reacted both on- and off-camera.
A student off camera asked, “So White is better than all?”
The teacher replied, “Let me finish. I think everybody thinks that. They’re just not honest about it.”
After some other discussion in the video, a student asked, “You said you are a racist, right?”
“I did, yeah, I’m trying to be honest,” the teacher replied.
Karmello described struggling with his emotions as the teacher made the comments.
“It was just like anger building up – but I controlled it and it went down,” he said.
Karmello’s mother, Janae Hardy, told CNN her son can be heard in one of the videos telling the teacher, “I had respect for you, but now I have no respect for you.”
“I had to speak to him. I was speaking from my heart, saying what I had to say,” Karmello said.
‘He should not be teaching anywhere’
In a statement Monday, the school district called the conversation “inappropriate” but didn’t provide further context.
“Last Friday, Nov. 11, Pflugerville ISD officials were made aware of an inappropriate conversation a teacher at Bohls Middle School had with students during an advisory class,” Killian wrote. “As of Monday morning, Nov. 14, the teacher in question is no longer employed by Pflugerville ISD and we are actively looking for a replacement.”
After apologizing to parents, the letter continued.
“We want to reiterate that this conversation does not align with our core beliefs and is not a reflection of our district or our culture at Bohls Middle School,” Killian said in his statement. “The advisory discussion was inappropriate, inaccurate, and unacceptable; and this type of interaction will not be tolerated in any PfISD schools.”
Hardy said while the district, he should also be out of the teaching profession.
“I really feel like he shouldn’t be teaching anywhere. I know he’s out of Pflugerville district but I don’t think he should be teaching kids if you feel that way,” she said.
The teacher in question has not been identified by PfISD. He was identified to CNN by a parent who shared audio of the exchange and said their child was in the videos, but he did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
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