Teacher Fired After Allegedly Calling MLK Jr. Day 'Black Privilege Day'

A school board in Missouri has fired a tenured science teacher after he allegedly used racial slurs and referred to Martin Luther King Jr. Day as "Black Privilege Day" during his classes.

The Harrisonville School Board voted on to fire John Magoffin during a closed session on Wednesday after an investigation by the school's principal found incidents that allegedly occurred in three different classes: AP biology, physics and advisory.

The principal of Harrisonville High School reported that students alleged that Magoffin, who had been with the district since 2012, used a racial slur during a conversation about rap culture in one of his classes and that he told students he had never seen racism in the U.S.

It was also discovered by the principal that the teacher had called Martin Luther King Jr. Day "Black Privilege Day."

One student interviewed by the principal further alleged that she was not allowed to remove her face mask for a break because she is Black.

Magoffin has denied those claims.

Teacher Fired High School Racial Slur
John Magoffin, a tenured science teacher at Harrisonville High School, was fired by the school board this week after students claimed he had used racial slurs and made other racially inappropriate comments during class. This is an outdoors view of Harrisonville High School. Twitter: @AFGutierrez

On Thursday, the school board issued a statement announcing their decision to terminate Magoffin's employment with the district.

"The board concluded that Mr. Magoffin's use of inappropriate language violated the rules and regulations of the district and was unacceptable conduct for a tenured teacher in the district," the statement read. "We commend the students and parents in bringing forth their concerns to the administration so that this matter could be appropriately addressed."

"We also commend our teachers and employees who uphold the high standards of our profession and work diligently each day on behalf of all students," it continued. "We will continue to move forward in our mission to provide a safe and successful learning environment for all District students and staff at the Harrisonville Cass R-IX School District."

The announcement comes after a marathon public hearing at the high school held for more than 11 hours last month, at which the district presented evidence of the allegations made against Magoffin while his attorney presented evidence refuting them.

During the hearing, the teacher's lawyer, Jean Lamfers, argued that Magoffin never used the full slur but rather used the term "n-word" in a conversation initiated by a student.

"The characterization that my client is some kind of a racist person and that this is a racial slur that he directed at anybody is an absolutely false narrative," Lamfers told KCTV ahead of the board's vote.

Magoffin had been placed on paid leave in April and requested the hearing after school administrators suggested he be fired over the allegations.

"I think that he was being singled out by the administration because he had been vocal about some other issues that the higher-ups didn't like," Lamfer told KMBC. She did not discuss which issues Magoffin had previously been vocal about.

Newsweek reached out to the Harrisonville School Board for further comment but did not hear back before publication.