African-American student says teacher made ‘big nose’ comment

Posted: Updated:

A fourth-grade student at West Middle Island Elementary School says his teacher made a racist comment to him in class on Monday.

The class was working on self-portraits during Monday’s art class, when 8-year-old Nassaun Jones asked the teacher to help draw his nose.

“He drew my nose really big, and I asked him ‘Why did you draw my nose really big?’ and then he said ‘all African-Americans have big noses,’” the boy told News 12.

Nassaun says his art teacher, John Johnson, is white.

Roberta Williams, Nassau’s grandmother, says when she called the school about the incident the acting principal told her she would talk to Johnson. Williams says Johnson called her Tuesday, but she didn't get the apology she was hoping for.

“He said ‘Oh, I think your grandson misunderstood me,’” said Williams. “No, I don't think he misunderstood you at all.”

The school superintendent issued a statement saying, "Longwood Central School District Central Administration is looking into the matter and trust that any miscommunication or offense taken by the family from a staff member will be remedied through further communication."

“We just want this teacher removed from the school. He shouldn't be teaching any kids,” says Williams.

Nassaun told News 12 that he is scared to go back to art class because he doesn’t “know what’s going to happen.”

News 12 asked the school district for a comment from the art teacher, but a district spokesperson declined the request.

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