Decision delayed on possible teacher suspension

Teacher calls allegations 'incorrect'

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The School Board of Broward County has postponed taking any action against a teacher accused of calling a student "chocolate that nobody wanted."

Superintendent Robert Runcie recommended a three-day suspension for Blanche Ely High School teacher Leslie Rainer after the May incident. Runcie said Rainer pointed a pointer in a Haitian student's face and said, "Look, little chocolate boy," and then told the boy that he was "chocolate that nobody wanted."

VIDEO: LaFortune reacts

VIDEO: Student reacts

READ: Leslie Rainer's last 4 performance evaluations

A petition for formal proceedings stated that Rainer "has had a history of inappropriate conduct towards her part-Haitian, minority descent students. Respondent made a statement to a student that, 'I wish they would put you in a boat and send you back where you came from.'"

Jean Robert LaFortune, the president of the Haitian American-Grassroots Coalition spoke at the meeting, saying that employing Rainer is "risky business." He urged board members to consider termination instead of suspension.

Rainer also spoke at Tuesday's School Board meeting, calling the allegations "incorrect."

"I have sworn statements that were taken from Haitian students that acknowledge that I did not treat them unfairly or say any negative comments to them," Rainer said.

Rainer said she has two children in the school system and that she is a "moral" person.

After the meeting, Rainer said the student in question is not even Haitian and is a relative of her husband, and that the comments she made in class have been misconstrued. LaFortune said if that is true, then his organization does not have a "beef" with her.

Rainer is accused of making derogatory statements to a second student believed to be Haitian, as well. LaFortune said for that reason, the School Board should still formally investigate and take the matter seriously.

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