Reed Bergen, a teacher at Montgomery Central High School in Clarksville, has received a letter of reprimand from Principal Christy Houston for using the word “Nigger” while speaking to a group of Black students in his class. The reprimand also covers Bergen’s admission that he has written up some students for discipline issues based on their race.
The parents of the Black students have joined with civil rights activist Terry McMoore, Director of the Urban Resource Center in calling for the immediate firing of Bergen from the Clarksville Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) and are recommending that his teaching license be revoked by the State of Tennessee and United States Department of Education.
The parents of the students involved will join McMoore for a press conference on this issue on Tuesday, October 2, at 3 p.m. outside the Public Library at 350 Pageant Lane.The Urban Resource center encourages you to join the students and their parents at this press conference as we attempt to bring the entire CMCSS in line with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which absolutely prohibits discrimination and racial profiling in our public schools.
For more information on this issue, contact Terry McMoore at 931-378-1999.
I am proud to say that I was blessed to be in one of Mr.Bergen’s first classes at Montgomery Central High School my senior year. He taught me more in that single school year than anyone else has ever managed to do. He’s not a bad person, and he’s in no way a racist. I’ve seen him put his neck on the line for students of every race, I was in his classroom for hours every day because I was also his teacher’s aide and very active in the after school Drama program, so I know him better than many people at Montgomery Central. He may have said the word “nigger” but I know that he did not direct it at those children. Mr.Bergen is eccentric, and it’s rather easy to take him the wrong way if you don’t know him, but the whole Drama Club and I know that he’s not what this article makes him out to be. This is unfair and was made intentionally to make him look bad. These students caused trouble and he wrote them up, that’s all there is to it. He may have offended them, but that’s only because they chose to take it that way. He’s never made a single racist remark in all the time that I’ve known him. This is sheer ludicrousness, and his career could be over for it. That’s completely unfair, Reed Bergen is a good man and an even better teacher. I plan to be at that press conference, on Mr.Bergen’s side.
My daughter is in Mr. Bergen’s class, and was present the day of this incidence. She read the news article and was angry that it had been so misconstrued. The whole discussion came about when a white kid said the “N” word. Mr. Bergen told that student that was an inappropriate word to use, and asked the student: “How would you feel if I called you a nigger?” A discussion took off about the differences in the word “nigger” and “nigga”. Mr. Bergen explained to the kids that there was no difference, the words were not appropriate.
The child who was reprimanded was acting up. That is what he got in trouble for.
As to the poster on the Leaf Chronicle page who said that kids were not mature enough to have a conversation like that, who are you kidding? These are 14-15 year olds in a Theater Arts class. If your 14-15 year old is not mature enough to handle a mature discussion, then as a parent you have failed.
To the other poster who said such discussions did not belong in school, again this is a Theater Arts class.
While I am on my soap box, let me just say this: the kids who yell racist are the kids who call each other “nigga”. So if the American constitution says a black kid can call his “homeboy” a “nigga”, then as an American, that same Constitution says I have the same right to say the word “nigga” as they do.
Obviously, these kids see nothing wrong with one of their own using that word. They only cry race when a white person does it. Who is the racist here?
You never see white kids calling each other “cracker”, and even if you did, if a black person calls me a cracker, who cares. Freedom of speech. Kids these days need to grow a backbone and thicker skin. Sticks and stones. But don’t throw your stones at me when you have been playing with them yourself.
And parents need to get over themselves. They are not teaching their kids to get along. They are teaching how to remain SEGREGATED.
I agree that either word is just as bad, I also think it should not matter if the person who says it white or black. The word is just inappropriate.
That being said this discussion isn’t really a topic of for a theatre arts class to discuss unless it’s coming up due to the presence of the word in a play. The age of the students in question has no bearing.
On the rest of this matter, I have no opinion. I leave it to people who are better informed about both the incident, and subject than I am.