Independence High School

Independence High School in Ashburn

A long-term substitute teacher at Independence High School reportedly used a racial slur in a classroom with students on Feb. 20.

In an email sent to IHS parents that evening, Principal John Gabriel reported the teacher had heard a student using the pejorative term in conversation with a peer.

"...the sub stopped the class to explain how it was inappropriate to use the word but stated it explicitly," Gabriel wrote.

Gabriel said the use of the word is "unacceptable," regardless of context, saying he "take[s] these matters seriously and we reject and condemn the use of racial slurs as it does not reflect our values at Independence."

The incident has been "addressed and resolved," according to the email. LCPS officials would not elaborate on what that meant. The school system would also not confirm what exactly the teacher said, nor would it disclose the name of the teacher.

The occurrence comes in the wake of numerous race-related incidents and initiatives within LCPS, including a discrimination investigation by the Virginia attorney general's office that was sparked by the Loudoun NAACP. 

Last school year, third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Madison’s Trust Elementary School in Ashburn were instructed during their physical education period to play a “game” that involved students working in groups, pretending to be runaway slaves and advancing through an obstacle course meant to represent the Underground Railroad.

(31) comments


teachers are suppose to set an example, to teach kids what is acceptable and what is not. I'm sure the kids have been told that there are words that they can not use in school or they will get in trouble. The teachers should be held to the same standards. He should at least be made to apologize publicly for his indiscretion.


I agree the student should be made to apologize.


I agree. The student.


So if a student punched another student, the sub would just be composing a "teachable moment" if he then punched someone else to show why it's wrong?

ATTENTION WHITE PEOPLE: I know you think *everything* is for you. BUT. THAT. WORD. IS. NOT. FOR. YOU.


False Equivalence Alert!


very good equilivant


oops sorry for the misspell.


Yes. Let’s compare apples to 🍎 ! The teacher was not using “the word” (whatever it was...the unmentionable” ) to harm anyone. Also listen up. Mr is not for whites OR any other race to be using Publicly or privately. I have heard it in banter among those who think they have a right to it...,and it doesn’t sound any better...even worse when they demean themselves.

John M

EvilHomer: The word is not for anyone. If you're going to use it, then other people are going to use it. How about setting an example by not using the word and see if that works?


Follow up questions: If somebody identifies black, but appears to be white, are they allowed to use "that word?" If somebody was told by their grandmother that they are 1/64th black, are they allowed to use "that word?" If someone undergoes genetic testing which reveals that person to be 0.1024% black, are they allowed to use "that word?" Finally, is someone wore blackface makeup, but later apologized/didn't apologize for doing so, are they allowed to use "that word?" SEE WHERE I'M GOING WITH THIS?


It doesn't matter what color you are it's how it is used. If it is used ti degrade someone of not.


You're wrong, per usual. The commenter to whom I am posing the questions makes it clear that "that word" isn't for "white people." I would like to know who IS ALLOWED to use it... according to the commenter. I know you think you are an expert on all matters, but how about letting my questions get an answer from the intended recipient?


As I type this, there are ten published comments. Nine people seem to have a grasp of the apparent absurdity of LCPS' actions. One person cannot seem to grasp that circumstances matter, because feelings(!!!).


The Social Justice Warriors must have their pound of flesh.


Unbelievable. Responsible teacher uses ignorant student's language as teachable moment. Politically correct school system jumps on the teacher. What a wimpy society we live in. Is it any wonder our young people are growing up offended by everything and scared of their own shadows?


Amen Romano. I am a sub too and one of my 6th graders was foing a prefix assignment finding words that begin with “bi .” She asked if it was all right to list “bisexual.” I told her to ask her regular teacher. One more potential teacher called on the carpet.


This is a good reason why parents need to be more involved in the execution of $1.4 billion of our tax dollars used to educate our children including having DIRECT input into teacher and administrator performance. History needs to be taught factually not as agendized events. Serial killers, war atrocities, slavery, religious abuses and even terrorism need to be taught unvarnished allowing parents to opt out with reasons if necessary. I represented a t20 plus year excellent teacher who was fired for saying something at a summer outing overheard by a parent. There is so much unfairness in the world which includes LCPS that it is unacceptable for school boards to be afraid to do their job for every student and every employee, every day even if it means challenging the Superintendent and his policies. :-)


Why didn't you run for school board?


So a student was an idiot and the teacher stepped in and corrected them. What’s the news, “LCPS substitute teacher does their job?”

John M

Pure speculation on my part, but I'm thinking the teacher heard the student use the N-word, only with an "a" on the end, because for some reason society thinks that is okay these days. The teacher then made the horrifying mistake of saying why the word should not be used, of course, the teacher probably used the word with the "er" on the end. It's all ridiculous.


OMG.... Call the police! Lock 'em up... This cannot stand...


Wow, well if schools were more interested in keeping students on the path to real education there wouldn't be time for the insane indoctrination into social communist liberalism that is meant to degrade what education in America stands for. The inference made about the obstacle course is way over the top. I guess that each day we should re-enact the planes crashing into the twin towers and the holocaust since that would be such a productive education time by today standards? How about the dad I recently spoke to that said their 13 year old was told in school that Donald Trump was an evil man. Wow, i guess that doesn't make national news anywhere. Our educational system is more interested in teaching how there needs to be 10 different types of bathrooms and why a male can compete against females in sports because they feel like a female. How about reading, writing, arithmetic, comprehension and a valid world and American history so that the hero's and historians of the past can teach our future leaders how to overcome adversity and obstacles using rational methods. It probably won't matter much, because the new blue party of socialism will probably legalize all drugs, seize all protection and attack those who would defend themselves. You won't need a school or an education because you get a guaranteed salary, ala, Bernie and the new socialist party so who needs an education. The only reason you need to be literate is to put your X on a social voting block. This state is in jeopardy of being overthrown and we need to stand up against these attacks. Our children deserve a safe, broad education that provides the skills and understanding to stand against the evil that destroyed Venezuela and support the growth and prosperity of an America that we are proud of. Defeat Socialism in Virginia, vote RED in 2020 (Remove Every Democrat).


This is quite a bit of a stretch response to the article posted. But dang. You do you brother. I take it you've never worked in a school. These days it's a far more complex system than just "reading, writing, and arithmetic". You have to take lots of different things into consideration, especially considering how diverse our schools are these days.




What is wrong with people? Why do so many think they have the right to assault others with their name calling and derogatory words?

Jeff Mach

Uuuuh.... in other words, the teacher did their job by educating students? I’m confused. How is this newsworthy?

David Dickinson

This is not newsworthy.


Wow, David you and I agree, there is hope in the world.


Regardless of context? That's a bit too far. There are educational circumstances where it can be discussed in an educational setting in a mature manner. There are important works of literature that contain racial slurs and they can be used as points to start dialogs about racism and such.

Context DOES matter.


Seriously?! She was addressing the inappropriate use of the word by a student and this made news. SMH

Duncan Idaho

Oh, no! Someone said a bad word, in the context of explaining why it's a bad word! Let's destroy their life!

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