Vicki Rogers was suspended from coaching a girls basketball team at North Side Middle School in Elkhart, Indiana, on Jan. 22 after telling her players to not "act black" and calling members of an opposing team "ghetto" on Jan. 15 (video below).
The incident was confirmed by Principal Sara Jackowiak and school records. However, Rogers has still been teaching at the school during her suspension.
“There are at least 50 other words she could have used to describe an unruly girl,” an anonymous mom of one the student basketball players told The Elkhart Truth. “Not one of those words happens to be 'black,’ and that’s because I don’t think in those terms. For this coach to use that word, it really tells me how she feels about race.”
“I don’t want my daughter to feel like the color of her skin is something she needs to hide so she doesn’t come across as 'ghetto,'" a second anonymous mother added. “That whole idea that the coach put in my daughter’s head is something I can never take back out. She has never identified as ignorant or not well-behaved because she is black.”
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The mom added that she thinks Rogers should be fired from her positions as coach and teacher.
Dr. Robert Woods, Director of Business Operations for the Elkhart Community Schools, told WNDU:
There’s still some discrepancy over what the words actually were, but it was something along the lines of "don’t behave like other girls that might be at another school" and the way that was said didn’t go over very well.
There was a reference to black students, yes. I don't believe her intent was to degrade folks, but sometimes what I say and what the person hears, it's offensive. I don't mean to be offensive.
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“It was really out of bounds because when you’re dealing with students, and especially athletes, they take to heart what you say," Ron Davis, Director of the Elkhart County NAACP, told the news station. "Talk about ghetto or don’t act like black kids, that’s very inappropriate to use."
Rogers may return soon to coaching because she has been taking sensitivity training via the Elkhart Human Relations Commission, but the two moms said they are upset by that possibility.