Newberg School District slams slur used in public comment

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Nearly 200 people gathered at the flag pole on First Street on Aug. 24 to protest a recent decision by the Newberg school board and to support the display of Black Lives Matter and Pride flags in the schools. (Pamplin Media Group)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Newberg School District says a community member giving public comment used a slur about a student after leaving their microphone unmuted during a school board meeting.

In a statement to KOIN 6 News, the district said they condemn the comments made during Tuesday’s meeting.

The comment comes in the wake of a months-long discussion and debate after the school board voted to ban Pride and Black Lives Matter symbols in schools, then later banned all political symbolism.

In Tuesday’s meeting, Newberg Schools Chairman Dave Brown said adults in the area are setting a poor example for students.

“That fact that we’re going to ask kids to not bully, I could write down pages of the way I’ve been bullied, and it’s from adults, it’s not the kids, and it’s people in this meeting, you know you’re going to call in and talk about one person feels, you got to talk about how everybody feels, so my challenge is when you look in the mirror tonight is ‘do I bully?'” he said.

KOIN 6 News reached out to the Newberg School Board for comment on the slur allowed to be broadcast in that meeting. Newberg School Board Chair Dave Brown issued the following response on Friday morning:

“In public comments at the October 12 School Board meeting, many heard a derogatory slur about a previous student speaker. In public comments, we condemn any type of racial or homophobic slurs of any kind. We apologize to the student and to everyone who heard it and we commit to do better.

When we invite the public to comment to the Board, we ask that you do so with respect and dignity for everyone in our school community.”

This academic year alone, one employee in the district was fired after showing up to work in blackface and an investigation was launched into a student’s involvement in a racist Snapchat group joking about slavery.

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