A Virginia history teacher claims he was the target of multiple acts of racism and is now suing one of his former students.
According to WAVY, Joel Mungo says that in his 21 years of being a history teacher at Menchville High School in Newport News, he’s never experienced anything like what he had to encounter.
“Someone left a banana at my door. The banana was perfectly placed in the doorway,” Mungo told the news station.
Mungo showed WAVY photos of what happened. He says the first incident happened in October.
“Then it happened once a month,” Mungo added, claiming a banana was placed at the door of his classroom six times in a “clearly deliberate act.”
After the sixth instance, he’d had enough.
After reporting the issue to Menchville administrators, they pulled up surveillance video and found the student believed to be responsible.
“I gave the student a chance to come clean,” Mungo said of the 10th-grader that was in one of his classes. “I asked him, ‘Hey did you do this?’ He said ‘No,’ he played dumb, ‘No idea what you’re talking about.’ So I said ‘OK, go down to the assistant principal.’ I’m the only Black teacher he has. He has six other teachers. No other teachers were involved.”
Mungo says that the student’s parents were called and that he was placed on a two-day suspension. The student was also removed from his class.
“Initially when the parents were contacted, the parents seemed to be truly embarrassed,” Mungo recalled. “Then when the student was suspended and the parents were informed, then the parents were irate. It’s 2022. Just to have some type of hate crime is absolutely ridiculous. I was sickened. I was highly upset. So upset, I took the next day off. I didn’t go to work that Friday.”
Now, Mungo is pursuing legal action as a result of the racist act.
“I’m just fed up with the racism around, especially at our academic institutions,” he told the news station. “Coming from the HBCUs and other colleges, the bomb threats, the nooses, the bananas and now it’s streaming into public education. It’s time to take a stand and just let people know it will not be tolerated. I know I’m not tolerating it. You have to speak up. You can’t allow it to go on because then it will just continue to go on.”
According to a spokesperson, Newport News Public Schools has indicated that it’s investigating the report and has met with Mungo.
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