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Doing anything for four decades straight can essentially classify you as an expert in that field, especially if that profession is being an educator. Teachers specifically are expected to be shining examples for their annual pupils, from how they speak to the language they use to convey academic lessons.

A teacher of 41 years at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in Chicago, Illinois completely contradicted that theory when she decided to use the controversial N-word during a lesson on racist sports teams names in her World History class.


The incident of great racial debate occurred last Friday at the all-girls Catholic school in Chi-Town’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood, where teacher Mary DeVoto attempted to explain why the Washington Redskins, now Washington Commanders, is such an offensive name. In an ironic twist, she ended up being racially offensive herself by comparing it to the N-word, only she decided to give it the “hard R” and actually say the slur.  In fact, she used it multiple times.

More on how the situation came to a head below, via The Chicago Sun-Times:

“A student was recording the lecture for later note-taking and the video was quickly sent through the school. Later that day, the administration moved to suspend DeVoto, and following a meeting Monday, terminated her position.

During meetings with the school administration, DeVoto said she used the N-word again while trying to explain the situation.

In a statement announcing DeVoto’s termination, the administration said the firing was made more necessary because of a subsequent conversation with the teacher in which the same racial slur was communicated in its entirety several times despite clear and formal directives to stop.

‘The N-word is never acceptable in any gathering of, or setting with, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas,’ the school said.

DeVoto told the Sun-Times she was just trying to make things clear to administrators but would never use the word again.”

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DeVoto tried to clear her name by telling the Sun-Times, “You can’t just talk about wonderful things in history, we have to talk about the underbelly,” but also admitting her wrongdoing, adding, “But I agree, I did not present that lesson well and it wasn’t conducive to the learning experience for my students. I am mortified and want to fix it.”

Her plan is to hopefully get the school to rehire her so she can apologize to her students and use the whole situation as a “learning opportunity.” A petition has even been set up to support her initiative.

Given DeVoto’s decades of educational experience at the school, do you think she deserves a second chance or does her longtime tenure make the offense even worse? Let us know your thoughts on this.

White Chicago Teacher Of 41 Years Fired For Saying The N-Word In History Class  was originally published on