Primary - Elementary

Utah school official says teacher violated policy by using racially-charged word in class

The South Ogden Junior High School sign is shown Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in South Ogden, Utah.

The South Ogden Junior High School sign is shown Wednesday, May 4, 2016, in South Ogden, Utah.  (AP)

A Utah school official said Wednesday that a white teacher violated district policy by using a racially-charged word in his junior high class.

Weber School District spokesman Nate Taggart said appropriate administrative action was taken against Douglas Barker. The history teacher at South Ogden Junior High School used the N-word before showing his class of 8th graders the Civil War film “Glory,” Taggart said.

"That is not appropriate language to use in any classroom context," Taggart said.

Barker told the Associated Press in an email that he was making sure his students understood why the world would be used in the film. He said he told his students that it’s not an appropriate term.

The film "Glory" follows an all-African American volunteer company fighting in the Civil War.

"My intent has never been to offend, only to teach for understanding with historical context," Barker said in the email.

Holly Frye, a parent of a 14-year-old student, said her son doesn’t feel safe at school anymore after the teacher spent an entire period last month saying and defining the word at the school.

Frye said the curriculum doesn’t include anything about talking about what the word means.

"If he were at a KKK rally, I guess that would be OK, but he's in a public school system," Frye said.

Frye said she was told the movie will no longer be allowed in junior or high school classes.

Taggart said the Barker also violated policy by showing the PG-rated version of the movie without permission. The original version of “Glory” is rated R.

Frye said she believes her son was shown the R-rated version. Movie theaters require that all children under the age of 17 who see an R-rated movie be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Taggart also said Barker had the confederate flag in his classroom last year and took it down voluntarily.

Frye wants to see the school district take further action in response to the incident, including providing all administrators with sensitivity training. She would also like to see Barker removed from his post as a history teacher.

She said she wants to "teach Mr. Barker that he cannot get away with using his classroom as a stance to preach his racist rhetoric."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.