Katy principal accused of spewing racial slurs

October 12, 2010 4:12:27 AM PDT
An elementary school principal in Katy is on leave after allegations she made racist and inappropriate comments in front of faculty. A teacher claims the principal made the comments last week, and that's led to a full investigation by Katy ISD.

When students at West Memorial Elementary return to school today from a three-day weekend, they won't see their principal. We've learned the school district has launched a formal investigation into whether the statements she's accused of saying crossed the line.

"I'm passionate about my job," said a West Memorial third-grade teacher who didn't want to be identified for fear of retaliation. "I'm passionate about my kids."

But lately she can't help but feel distracted, and the reason, she says, is because of comments by Principal Kathy Leonard.

"They're completely inappropriate," the teacher said. "They're very unprofessional and they're discriminatory, completely."

The teacher says the worst was last week in front of a dozen other teachers. As she was trying to describe a student's reading deficiency, she says Leonard jumped in.

"She turned to me and asked, 'Well what is he?' and I said, 'He's black' and she said, 'Well have you tried to teach him in Ebonics?' and started cackling and laughing as if it was funny," the teacher said.

The teacher says it wasn't the first time she felt singled out because of her race.

"She said, 'Well, you know, you, of all people should understand segregation.' She said you wouldn't want segregation going on and you would feel the same way if it was a group of black children."

Frustrated and fed up, she reached out for help.

"She was one of the three who contacted me," community activist Quanell X said. "The other two teachers were Caucasian who were angry and appalled."

The district has launched an investigation and placed Leonard on paid administrative leave. No one answered at her home on Monday.

"They're statements that a principal should not say," the teacher said.

The teacher would be happy with only one outcome.

"She needs to be terminated," the teacher said.

Leonard has been an employee with the school district for 22 years and has served as principal at the elementary school for the past four years. She'll remain on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

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