FLORENCE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Parents in Florence are raising concerns after school district officials confirm racist and homophobic slurs were used in an assembly to teach kids what kind of language will not be tolerated on campus, including the N-word.
It happened at an Magma Ranch K-8 in the Florence Unified School District #1. A spokesperson for the district, Rita Ann Ezzai, confirms the assembly was held on March 29th.
Below is a statement from the district:
“The Florence Unified School District #1 was made aware of an incident at Magma Ranch K-8 in which the principal, Janeane Candelaria and Dean of Students, Mr. Lawrence Williams held an assembly for the 7th & 8th grade students. The assembly was held to promote a culture of positive behavior and acceptance. The school administrators’ goal was for the students to be able to define hate speech, and appropriately identify specific words that would not be tolerated on campus. The words stated during the assembly were utilized in an educational context, and articulated in a manner to provide clarity and full understanding of the weight of negative connotations they convey. Florence Unified School District, works diligently to create an inclusive equitable & respectful culture on every campus.”
Anthony Martinez is a father with two kids who go to the school, including a daughter who was at the assembly. He says parents didn't know about the assembly beforehand.
The use of racial slurs for any reason is disgusting to see, Martinez said, and and believes they should never be used around young children. He thinks school leaders should have approached this in a much different way.
"What if our kids have never heard this language until they got to the school? Or until the principal had said that?," Martinez said.
The district declined to do an on-camera interview with Arizona's Family.