Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teacher's Photos Net Her a Rebuke; Sandalwood Educator Will Apologize to Students for Her "Poor Judgment."

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teacher's Photos Net Her a Rebuke; Sandalwood Educator Will Apologize to Students for Her "Poor Judgment."

Article excerpt

Byline: JESSIE-LYNNE KERR

A Sandalwood High School teacher has received a verbal reprimand from her principal for her "poor judgment" when she showed students cell-phone pictures Thursday that included one depicting President-elect Obama as a gorilla. The teacher also will apologize to her class, her principal said.

The pictures were of "the new White House, with fried chicken, a rapper tossing a watermelon as a football, big rims on the limo and President Obama as a gorilla in the White House," according to one student.

The father of the 11th-grader spoke to the Times-Union on the condition that his and his child's identities would not be revealed to protect the student from retribution.

Victoria Schultz, Sandalwood's principal, said government teacher Dena Turner was in tears when she was confronted about the parent's complaint, relayed by the Times-Union.

A statement from Duval County Public Schools said Turner's intention "was not to offend any of her students but rather to let her students know that it is time to move on from the election and support our president-elect."

Spokeswoman Jill Johnson, in an e-mail, added that the pictures were "meant to be an example of how people have gone too far."

The student said the teacher, who is white, told the class of 25 students she had "something funny to show you guys," and held up her cell phone.

"He told me he thought it wasn't funny," the father said. "He said some of the other kids laughed at it but others didn't. He thought it was racist to show that."

His son said Turner told the class she had already shown them some photos from Saturday Night Live that knocked John McCain's candidacy, the father said.

Schultz told the Times-Union on Friday that the teacher had an earnest desire to get the students to move on past the election. …

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