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Missouri teachers cause controversy for spelling racial slur in scrabble picture posted online

Students and families are demanding accountability from a Missouri school district after an image posted on social media showed a group of white teachers holding up letters during a “Scrabble” game that spelled out a racial slur. 

According to Fox’s St. Louis affiliate station, KTVI, a photo posted over the weekend on social media showed Christian School District employees in O’Fallon, Mo., participating in a human Scrabble game. 

The five teachers were seen in the photo holding up letters that spelled out an abbreviated word that starts with "c" that is widely considered a racial slur. 

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Pastor Raymond Horry, who has two children enrolled at schools in the district, told NBC’s local affiliate KSDK that the teachers were “running around trying to spell raccoon, but they didn't have the R and the A.” 

"I don't believe it that five Caucasian teachers, not one of them knew that,” Horry, who also represents the St. Louis County branch of the NAACP, said. “Maybe one didn't know it, maybe two didn't know it, but all five didn't know it?"

The image quickly sparked backlash from families, with student Ray Horry telling KTVI, “They say they did not mean to offend anyone, but they are too old not to know what they are talking about.” 

Christian School District released a statement saying that it has “been investigating and addressing the incident since it was brought to our attention,” and that “appropriate disciplinary action will occur after the investigation is complete.”

“We are spending time listening to those impacted, providing support to help repair relationships, and identifying necessary steps in moving forward together,” the school district continued. “We recognize that this ill-informed action caused hurt and offense to many students and families in our school and in the wider community.” 

“We offer no excuse as to why this word was used,” the district added. 

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The statement said that the school district sent a separate message to families apologizing for the incident, adding, “We are working hard as a district to educate our faculty through specific professional development around diversity, and the creation of a Oneness Committee to give a voice to all students, staff, and parents at Christian School District.”

“This incident highlights that more is needed to be done,” the district explained. “We are committed to doing more for the good of the district and the glory of God.” 

It was unclear as of Wednesday if the teachers had already faced disciplinary actions over the incident. 

Despite the public apology, the elder Horry said the St. Louis County is calling for a thorough and complete investigation into the incident. 

“Like everything else that we’re seeing in America, there are no consequences for people’s actions,” he told KTVI. “This has come to be demoralizing and then we get these students in the school and there is no representation of them, no one in the yearbook of authority that look like my children.”