Teacher Placed on Paid Leave Over Alleged Racially Insensitive Description of How to Make a Noose

teacher paid leave noose
A man that called himself "Mr. Noose" who wants to see justice to crimes against women arrives at North Gauteng High Court on October 14, 2014, in Pretoria, South Africa. On Friday, New London Public Schools announced that a history teacher was being placed on paid leave while an investigation is conducted into comments he made explaining how to make a noose. Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images

Fred Driscoll, a teacher at New London High School, was removed from his classroom after allegedly making a racially insensitive comment that included an in-depth explanation of how to properly make a noose.

During an AP Government class held on October 29 at the Connecticut high school, Driscoll allegedly described to students how to make a noose with the purpose of breaking someone’s neck.

“The rope has to be soaked in water for a certain period of time so it has a little bit of elasticity to it, and the knot has to be tied properly,” Driscoll told students, according to The Day. “The knot has to go between the right vertebrae, so when you drop, it snaps your neck and it kills you automatically.”

The comment, which was captured on video, was labeled racially insensitive and inappropriate for a classroom. The day after the alleged comments were made, over 20 parents and students met with the school administration.

"It was complete surprise and shock and actually I was sick to my stomach when I heard," New London Board of Education member Jason Catala told WTNH.

Catala added that it’s inappropriate to go into that level of detail during a discussion in a high school classroom and that it made him wonder what else has been said throughout the year.

Jean Jordan, president of the New London National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), explained to The Day that aside from the comment being racially insensitive, Driscoll’s statement could have serious physical implications.

“You don’t give them a roadmap on how to kill yourself,” Jordan said. “Who goes into that kind of detail when describing something like this? It’s not appropriate. It’s not necessary, especially given the climate going on in the world right now.”

Newsweek contacted New London Public Schools for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. However, on Wednesday, School Superintendent Cynthia Ritchie told The Day in a statement that any incident that may defy the school’s high expectations is investigated immediately.

On Friday, the school sent an email to parents that informed them that Erin Azamarskie, a tenured social studies teacher, would take over the class on a temporary basis, as reported by The Day. The school also planned to hire a long-term substitute teacher to take over while an investigation is conducted. In the interim, Driscoll was placed on paid leave.

Although many students and parents were outraged by the remarks, some defended the teacher and told The Day that the short clip doesn’t tell the full story. Parent Christopher Affie said his son described the discussion as “respectful and valid” and called Driscoll an excellent teacher.

“The context was cruel and unusual punishment. He was describing why they did it that way,” Affie told The Day. “Personally, my son wasn’t offended by this. This is a top-level college class.”

According to a Facebook page belonging to Driscoll, he has been a teacher at New London High School since 1998.

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