Blanche Ely Teacher Suspended For “Chocolate” Comments

FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Blanche Ely High School reading teacher has been suspended for 10 days without pay for allegedly making inappropriate comments toward her students.

The Broward School Board approved the suspension Tuesday for teacher Leslie Rainer.

According to the Broward County school district, Rainer has been counseled previously regarding inappropriate conduct towards her students on December 4, 2008. She was also verbally counseled on April 14, 2011 regarding inappropriate discussion of a religious nature with students.

In the latest incidents Rainer, 46, reportedly called a Haitian student in her class a “chocolate boy” and a “chocolate that nobody wanted.” Rainer, who has denied making the comments, said even if she did use the term “chocolate,” in the black community it is a term of endearment.

“I’m stable and professional, I know my role in the classroom and community,” Rainer said.

The Haitian-American Coalition has said that they didn’t believe a suspension would go far enough, instead they wanted the board to terminate Rainer.

“We believe this behavior does not belong in the classroom,” said Jean Robert La Fortune of the HAC, “she’s risky business.”

Rainer has until March 28th to appeal her suspension to Superintendent Robert Runcie. If she does, it will be referred to the school board’s attorney who will send it to the Division of Administrative Hearings. The suspension will not be carried out until the outcome of the appeal is known, which could take several months.

If Rainer chooses not to appeal, the suspension will begin on March 29th.


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