Katura Stokes, who is black, filed a damage claim on Thursday against the Palmdale School District, after a white teacher went on a racist rant about her son during a Zoom call. Stokes’ 12-year-old son is a student at Desert Willow Fine Arts, Science and Technology Magnet Academy.

Stokes said her and her son met with his teacher, Kimberly Newman, about struggles he was having with online learning. When Stokes thought the Zoom call was over, she said she overheard Newman say the 6th grader made excuses and lied because “this is what black people do.” Newman also used racial epithets against the family.

In a video of the incident, a woman’s voice can be heard saying, “your son has learned to lie to everybody and make excuses … to be a child. Since you’ve taught him to make excuses that nothing is his fault. This is what black people do.”

Stokes recorded the call and and filed a claim against the school district for for negligence, civil rights violations, defamation and infliction of emotional distress. Stokes called on the school district to “improve racial sensitivity training” and investigate additional discrimination at the school.

“The horrible comments the teacher made in the video are truly heartbreaking for a mother to hear and for her young son to hear,” said Stokes’ attorney, John Taylor. “It’s unthinkable that an educator would mock and belittle this family, and there is no doubt that this incident has scarred them.”

Palmdale district spokesperson David Garcia said the call was a “gross, professional misconduct of a now former Palmdale teacher.”

Newman was placed on administrative leave and ordered to appear in front of the superintendent, but chose to resign instead.

“I’m here to tell you that this school board, this district and this community will not tolerate this behavior,” said Ralph Velador, Palmdale’s school board president.

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