‘Quit acting like animals,’ Louisiana teacher tells people of color, costing her job

Valerie Scogin, a former teacher at Slidell High School in Louisiana.
Valerie Scogin, a former teacher at Slidell High School in Louisiana.

A social media outburst has reared its ugly head again, this time in a Facebook thread centered around Nike’s new Colin Kaepernick-narrated commercial titled, “Dream Crazy.”

Several graduates of Slidell High School in Slidell, La. were discussing the ad, according to the Advocate, when a teacher at the high school chimed in with a comment on the original post.

They don’t have to live in that country,” Valerie Scogin’s comment started, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “They could go back, but it was their own people selling them into slavery to begin with and tearing (sic) them even worse in those countries of origin.”

She continued: “Want to not be stereotyped, tell people of that color to quit acting like animals and perpetuating the stereotype. Many are average people. The few ruin it.”

While the commercial is about overcoming social and physical obstacles to achieve athletic greatness, Kaepernick, the narrator, is the former NFL quarterback who started the trend of kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games in protest of police brutality and the treatment of minorities in the U.S. The ad’s tagline reads, “Belive in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Scogin, who is white, is listed on the Slidell High School website as a math teacher who graduated from Slidell in 2003 and has taught there since 2008.

Kaepernick Nike.JPG
A large billboard stands on top of a Nike store showing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick at Union Square, in San Francisco. An endorsement deal between Nike and Colin Kaepernick prompted a flood of debate as sports fans reacted to the apparel giant backing an athlete known mainly for starting a wave of protests among NFL players of police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues. Eric Risberg AP

The clapback to her comment started on the Facebook thread, where Scogin defended her comparison of “people of that color” to “animals” in an argumentative tone, The Advocate reported, before backing down and apologizing within the thread.

The back-and-forth on Facebook started on Sept. 5, according to WWL-TV. But only when word of the exchange got back to St. Tammany Parish School District officials, did Scogin’s tone begin to change.

On Monday, school district officials told The Advocate that “the posting was voluntarily removed,” and that “the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken.”

But on Tuesday, according to WVUE, the school and Scogin had parted ways.

“When this situation was brought to our attention, the School System launched a full investigation, and the teacher involved was allowed due process,” a school spokesperson said in a statement. “This process has been completed, and the teacher in question is no longer an employee of our School System.

Colin Kaepernick voices a new Nike ad that features himself along with other athletes that is set to air during the Falcons-Eagles game to kickoff the 2018 NFL season.

“This incident does not reflect our district’s values, mission and vision, and we remain committed to providing a school culture that is inclusive and meets the needs of all our students, employees and community.”

It has not been made clear whether Scogin resigned, or if she was fired. She did, however, make an apology on Facebook, according to the Times-Picayune.

It read: “I made some remarks that were against my better judgement (sic) and sensibilities. I now wish I hadn’t. Anyone who has known me for any time should know that the last thing I want to do is to hurt anyone. I apologize for what I said and sincerely wish to avoid this in the future.”