A mother in Gaston County, North Carolina, is spelling it out: She doesn’t want to see any racial slurs on her little girl’s spelling list.
Jennifer Thompson was shocked when her 6-year-old daughter brought home a spelling list that included “gook,” a term used to disparage people from southeast Asia.
The word created a teachable moment that the mother neither intended nor wanted for a first-grader.
“We had to explain to Emily why she could not say the word and not to use it,” Thompson told the Gaston Gazette.
Thompson contacted her daughter’s teacher on Wednesday. She said the teacher told her that the students were learning words with similar sounds such as “look,” “took” and, yes, a racial slur.
“They said they were going off the word sounds and not necessarily the meanings,” Thompson told the paper.
HuffPost reached out to Gaston County Schools for a comment, but received no immediate response.
However, schools spokesman Todd Hagans told the Gaston Gazette that the inclusion of the slur was merely “an oversight by the teacher” and that “she never meant to be insensitive.”
The word will not appear in future spelling lists, he said.
Thompson discusses the incident in the video above.